EAGA mulls joint fishery development framework to sustain tuna breeding grounds
Davao City (22 July) -- With the rising concern on global issues like climate change and its impact on biodiversity and marine resources, member countries of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-the Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) are deliberating on a draft framework for joint fisheries development in support of policies that call for the sustainable management of tuna spawning grounds in the Coral Triangle.
With the help of the German Technical Cooperation, an initial draft of the MOA prepared by the Philippine EAGA Working Group on Fisheries is now being reviewed and finalized by the member countries.
The proposed framework, in the form of a Memorandum of Agreement, will establish the concept of a fisheries consortium among fishing industry stakeholders in the BIMP-EAGA.
The proposed consortium is seen as a forum that facilitates discussion of issues on fisheries development as well as opportunities such as access to technology, access to market, access to funding, capacity building of fishermen, as well as public-private partnership.
Specifically, the MOA proposed that each county shall designate specific areas within their respective territorial waters where the consortium members can be allowed to operate according to the constitution and laws of specific countries.
The MOA is expected to yield joint economic activities among BIMP-EAGA fishing industries within the common fishing areas in the sub-region.
"The time to get our acts together for the conservation and sustainable management of our marine biodiversity is of timely importance now, more than ever, because the future generations will largely benefit from this abundance," said Usec. Virgilio Leyretana, chairman of Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo).
Leyretana said that the Greater Sulu-Sulawesi corridor has been identified as one of the development priorities in BIMP-EAGA, where the rich fishing grounds and spawning areas of tuna can be found.
The revitalization of the BIMP-EAGA sub-regional cooperation has been a key strategy of the government to fast track socio-economic development in Mindanao and Palawan, as the Philippines ' focus areas, wherein MEDCo plays an integral role as the country's Philippine Coordinating Office (PCO).
Leyretana also said that the thrust on fisheries development supports the ongoing Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) which stresses the importance of marine and coastal resources and people of the Coral Triangle, the world's largest biodiversity site spanning Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste.
A Philippine National CTI Coordinating Committee has been tasked to implement programs and projects building on the regional cooperative programs that highlight sustainable management.
This spawning area of tuna covers almost 1.6 billion acres and holds the richest population of corals, fish, crustaceans, marine plants, sea turtles and other marine species.
The Philippines together with the five countries including BIMP-EAGA recently signed the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security at the World Ocean Conference in Manado last May. (MEDCo) [top]