The Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA)-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) awarded PRIMEX the contract for the Conduct of a Feasibility Study on the Philippine Fisheries and Coastal Resilience Project (FishCoRe) on 26 November 2020. The seven-year project will be implemented from 2021 to 2028 with funding from national government, local government units (LGUs), and a US$200 million loan from the World Bank.
FishCoRe is the government’s initiative in support of the new strategic vision of the agriculture sector for a “food-secure and resilient Philippines with prosperous farmers and fisherfolks.” It aims to increase the income of fisherfolk, improve the management of coastal fisheries resources, and strengthen fisheries value chains. FishCoRe is projected to contribute to DA-BFAR’s plans to modernize and intensify fishery entrepreneurial activity and productivity through the fisheries management areas (FMAs) to achieve growth in sector value by 2.3% by 2022.
Mr. Len R. Garces, PRIMEX Vice President for Technical Services and FishCoRe Project Director, expressed his confidence that the PRIMEX Consultant Team will be able to meet the expectations of DA-BFAR, as fisheries is the company’s strongest sector.
“Since 1998, PRIMEX has been providing technical assistance to government executing agencies in designing and managing multi-year and multimillion-dollar coastal resources and marine resource management projects in the Asia-Pacific including the Philippines. Under the able leadership of Ms. Cecilia Astilla, I know that our team will deliver high-quality technical services to help this project succeed.”Len R. Garces, PRIMEX Vice President for Technical Services and FishCoRe Project Director
Paradigm shift to fisheries management and governance
FishCoRe will use the ecosystem approach to fisheries management (EAFM) to facilitate the transition from the open-access nature of fisheries governance to that of an ecosystem-based fisheries management.
The project will be implemented in the country’s two FMAs (6 and 9) covering the coastal towns of 22 provinces and will involve 11 BFAR Regional Offices. FMA 6 includes the coastal waters off the West Philippines Sea including Pagudpud Bay, Subic Bay, Manila Bay to Lubang Island in Regions 1, 2, 3, 4A, 4B, and the National Capital Region (NCR). FMA 9 stretches from Regions 7, 8, 9, 10, and 13, covering Bohol Sea, Panguil Bay, Gingoog Bay, Butuan Bay, and Sogod Bay.
The FMAs usher in a new era of fisheries governance by delineating the entire Philippine waters into management areas that are characterized as being science-based and participatory within a transparent governance framework.
DA and BFAR’s strong support to the consultant team
During the Project Scoping Workshop on 7-8 December 2020, PRIMEX President and CEO Elvira C. Ablaza thanked DA-BFAR for another opportunity for collaboration in the preparation of another major fisheries project, the first one being the Fisheries Resource Management Project (FRMP) that was co-financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the then Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). She stressed the need for close cooperation between the PRIMEX Team and DA-BFAR throughout the conduct of the feasibility study, given the very short period available for its implementation.
In response, DA Undersecretary for Agri-Industrialization and Fisheries Cheryl Marie Caballero conveyed the commitment of DA Secretary William Dar to the project. She also ensured the PRIMEX Consultant Team of DA and BFAR’s support.