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Consortium in Davao Region to boost small-scale fisheries

The creation of the National Consortium for Small-Scale Fisheries Research and Development, with the participation of Southern Philippines Agribusiness and Marine and Aquatic School of Technology (SPAMAST) and University of the Philippines (UP) Mindanao, is a welcome development in the Davao Region.

Relly B. Garcia, OIC regional director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), has commended this initiative as a significant step towards the betterment of the small-scale fishers, who play a big role in ensuring food security in the Philippines.

SPAMAST, situated in Malita, Davao Occidental, and UP Mindanao in Davao City, are among the 31 state universities and colleges (SUCs) from across the country that formed the consortium for small-scale fisheries development.

Also known as Too Big To Ignore (TBTI) Philippines, the consortium will be the lead organization for policy inputs and advice on small-scale fisheries matters. It shall hold its office at the University of the Philippines Visayas in Miagao, Iloilo.

SPAMAST president, Dr. Lynette Bontia, signs the Memorandum of Agreement, manifesting the college’s collaboration with 30 other SUCs for the creation and operationalization of the National Consortium for Small Scale Fisheries Research and Development. (Photo from SPAMAST)

The member-SUCs sealed a Memorandum of Agreement, which stipulates their collaboration and implementation of SSF research and development projects, and bound themselves by the terms and conditions, including TBTI Philippines’ vision, mission, goals, and the duties, responsibilities, and benefits of the member-institutions.

Among the duties and responsibilities of the member institutions are their commitment and alignment of organizational resources with the TBTI Philippines’ goals and objectives.

The member organizations shall also participate and provide expertise in the conduct of conferences, fora, training, seminars, and other activities related to SSF research and development projects.

They shall also provide counterpart funds in the amount to be agreed upon by the members for the implementation of SSF research and development programs and projects.

The collaboration likewise provides benefits for the members through various activities that may be instituted by the consortium, such as the strengthening of research capabilities and access to various human resources and institution development programs and projects.

There will be sharing of scientific information through library linkage and similar arrangements.

Garcia said that the participation of SPAMAST and UP Mindanao in the consortium holds great promise for the development of small-scale fisheries in the Davao Region.

“BFAR-XI applauds this collaborative initiative and anticipates the positive impact it will have on the fisheries industry in our region, ensuring a brighter future for our small-scale fishers and the entire community,” Garcia said in a text message.

He said that the shared expertise of institutions, coupled with government support, will serve as the prime movers in empowering our small-scale fishers, enhancing their livelihoods, and boosting food security and resilience in the communities.

The involvement of these institutions will improve policies, as research will facilitate informed decisions and ensure proper attention is given to the well-being of small-scale fishers, Garcia shared.

“This, in turn, will create a more conducive environment for their growth and sustainability,” he added.

On the part of SPAMAST, newly-assumed president Dr. Lynette Bontia considers this collaboration a good start in her presidency, in maintaining and enhancing the college's mandate as a higher education institution offering programs in fisheries, marine sciences, and other related courses.

Bontia said that this endeavor will help 

SPAMAST president Dr. Lynette Bontia (3rd from right) joins officials and representatives of other state universities and colleges (SUCs) from across the country, which formed a consortium for small-scale fisheries development. (Photo from SPAMAST)

improve the welfare of fisheries, especially the protection and sustainability of small-scale fishers. More so, the province of Davao Occidental has rich fisheries and marine resources, which is one of the main sources of livelihood for its constituents. 

Apart from SPAMAST, the other member institutions coming from Mindanao, are Central Mindanao University, Dipolog School of Fisheries, Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology, Mindanao State University-Tawi-Tawi College of Technology and Oceanography, and University of the Philippines Mindanao.

In line with the President's goal to increase fisheries production to 10%, BFAR XI is focusing on various initiatives, including aquaculture, post-harvest improvements, capacity-building, livelihood support, and private-sector partnerships.

Based on the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) production data for April to June 2023, the Davao Region has achieved a fish sufficiency level of 50.22%, equivalent to 21,312.24 metric tons (MT).

This represents a significant growth of 5.62% compared to the 1st Quarter of 2023 when it was at 44.60% (19,135.42 MT). The growth is observed across various fisheries subsectors, with the municipal fisheries sector leading at 12,034.60 MT, followed by the aquaculture sector at 7,895.77 MT, and the commercial sector at 1,381.87 MT. (CLC/PIA-XI)

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Carina Cayon

Regional Editor

Region 11

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