By Prince Golez
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has approved the P11.2 billion Philippine Fisheries and Coastal Resiliency (FishCoRe) Project, which aims to address fishery sector issues, reduce poverty incidence, and ensure food security.
The project was approved by NEDA as President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. held his first meeting with the government’s socioeconomic planning body on Thursday.
Marcos Jr. noted the timeliness of the project when he stated at the meeting that it is projected that more saltwater fish would be raised in a few decades due to overfishing.
“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,” the President said.
“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,” he added.
The FishCoRe project was conceived to address issues in the fishery sector such as declining fish catch, high post-harvest losses, and high poverty incidence among fisherfolk.
The seven-year investment will help the Philippines implement reforms in fishery and aquaculture management aimed at improving the management of the country’s fishery resources and increasing the value of fisheries production in specific fisheries management areas.
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 aims to build fisheries infrastructure and facilities, as well as provide livelihood and business development assistance to Filipino fishermen.
The World Bank will provide P9.6 billion in official development assistance toward the total project cost of P11.2 billion.
The government will shoulder the remaining P660.6 million through the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, with the remaining P1.16 billion coming from private sector partners and beneficiary groups or cooperatives.
The project is expected to benefit 354,905 registered fisherfolk in 24 provinces with a total coastal and marine area of approximately 32 million hectares.
Aside from the 26,877 jobs that could be created, the project proponents expect the FishCoRe Project to contribute to the administration’s thrust of ensuring food security and resiliency by improving aquaculture production, increasing fish stocks, providing diversified livelihood opportunities, and increasing fisherfolk income.