Some 354,905 registered fisherfolk in 24 provinces are expected to benefit from the Philippine Fisheries and Coastal Resiliency (FishCoRe) Project, which was designed to address the problems in the fishery sector, reducing poverty incidence and ensuring food security.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., who also heads the Department of Agriculture (DA), is fully supportive of the project as this will “benefit the poorest of the poor” among the fisherfolk in 24 provinces.
Aside from the 26,877 jobs that could be created, proponents of the FishCoRe Project expect it to contribute to the Marcos administration, whose main thrust is ensuring food security and resiliency through improved aquaculture production, increased fish stocks, provision of diversified livelihood opportunities and higher incomes for fisherfolk.
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has approved P11.2 billion to finance the FishCoRe project, which will be covering coastal and marine areas of about 32 million hectares scattered in 24 provinces where fishing communities abound.
Of the P11.2 billion total project cost, P9.6 billion will come from the official development assistance (ODA) provided by the World Bank (WB).
The remaining P660.6 million will be shouldered by the government through the DA’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), while the remaining P1.16 billion will come from private sector partners and beneficiary groups or cooperatives.
The FishCoRe project was conceptualized to address the problems in the fishery sector, such as declining fish catch, high post-harvest losses, and high poverty incidence among fisherfolk.
The seven-year investment will support the implementation of reforms in fishery and aquaculture management in the Philippines aimed at improving the management of the country’s fishery resources and enhancing the value of fisheries production in selected fisheries management areas (FMAs).
FishCoRe’s project components include supporting the development and implementation of appropriate fisheries management policies, establishing support facilities for the rehabilitation of coastal and maritime habitats and improving institutional capacities for strengthened enforcement.
FishCoRe also seeks to establish fisheries infrastructure and facilities and provide livelihood and enterprise development assistance to Filipino fisherfolk.
President Marcos fully backs the FishCoRe project and he made this known during his first meeting with NEDA officials in Malacañang last Thursday.
The President said it is projected that a few decades from now, there will be more saltwater fish cultivation as a result of overfishing, noting the timeliness of the FishCoRe project.
“So we have to get into the industry. We’ve been pushing it since we started using fingerlings to the Pangasinan aquaculture. ‘Yung grow-out doon sa amin… after the grow-out, we will send them to Pangasinan,” Marcos told NEDA officials.
“For some reason hindi nagfo-flourish ‘yung aquaculture, hindi na nade-develop. That’s why this is important for me. I think this is where — if not all, it will be part of our food supply. It will give very good income for our fisherfolk,” Marcos pointed out.