Training of Trainers on Fishery Industry Standards and Technologies

The Training of Trainers on Fishery Industry Standards conducted last October 21-22, 2021 via Zoom is anchored on the strategic objective of increasing the knowledge of small-scale fisherfolk on fishery industry standards.  Event organizers include the Institute of Social Order (ISO), NGOs for Fisheries Reform (NFR), Pangingisda Natin Gawing Tama (PaNaGaT) Network, Tambuyog Development Center (TDC), and Rare Philippines. The goal of the activity was to encourage small-scale fisherfolk and local government units to adopt appropriate technologies and comply to these standards as mandated by the Amended Philippine Fisheries Code.

The activity was part of the project titled, “Responsive Policies for Small-Scale Fisherfolk Towards Sustainable Industry” funded by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (RLS).  A pool of experts and NGOs currently implementing technologies on electronic municipal catch documentation and traceability system (eMCDTS) and vessel monitoring mechanism (VMM) in the Philippines took part in developing the training design.

The training targeted 37 coastal municipalities that are part of the BFAR-PaNaGaT project on strengthening local fishery governance for Fisheries Management Areas (FMAs). This is to increase awareness beyond the partner communities of NGOs currently implementing the technologies. Participants hailed from coastal communities in Quezon, Camarines Sur, Albay, Catanduanes, Occidental Mindoro, Antique, Eastern Samar, and Surigao del Norte. These include key individuals among the fisherfolk, such as Municipal Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council (MFARMC) members, and the LGUs, such as Municipal Agriculture Officers (MAOs) who can potentially conduct the basic orientation on fishery industry standards.

In the first two sessions, Atty. Benjamin Tabios, Jr., Head of the Office for Special Concerns of BFAR, discussed the legal bases of MCDTS and VMM. He oriented the trainees on the key points of the Amended Philippine Fisheries Code as well as the roles of the LGUs and benefits to the fisherfolk communities in implementing such technologies and standards.

The third session featured case presentations of technologies used for eMCDTS and VMM. Mr. David David, Fisheries Technical Officer, Sustainable Tuna Partnership Project of WWF-Philippines, shared about their experiences and how using eMCDTS contributed to governance improvement in yellowfin tuna fisheries. He also presented a comparison of various technologies and their capabilities.

Mr. Dean Apistar, Senior Manager for Data for Decision-Making of Rare Philippines, presented the OurFish app. The app allows digitization of records and assists fisherfolk in logging their fish catch. This helps fisherfolk present detailed fish catch information to fish buyers. So far, it is being used around Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The app was piloted in 27 municipalities in the Philippines in 2019.

Mr. Daniel Ocampo, Campaign Manager, and Mr. Jessie Floren of Karagatan Patrol, both from Oceana Philippines presented the last case for the training. They focused on using Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) in addressing illegal fishing. Mr. Floren gave a brief introduction on VIIRS as well as an explanation on the usage of the technology. The technology assists the enforcers in mapping the territorial waters then presenting a route and fishing vessels present in the map.

For the fourth session, Mr. Dennis Calvan, Senior Manager for Government Engagement and Policy of Rare Philippines, gave an orientation on the draft Technology Readiness Assessment Tool. The purpose of this tool was to assess the the readiness and willingness of the fishers and LGUs to adopt these technologies in terms of policies, process, and management.

The program concluded with an open forum where participants actively engaged with the speakers. The participants were able to air reservations, clarify some concerns, and share their thoughts and experiences.

After the activity, the draft technology readiness assessment tool was circulated to the participants for comments. The feedback will serve as reference in refining the tool, in preparation for the possible conduct of the assessment in 2022. The training evaluation data will also be used as a guide in refining the training design and content. The re-echo of the training in the municipal level is also targeted next year.

Article written by: Jose Benigno D. Sayon, ISD Technical Assistant; Samantha Mae M. Poblete, RPD Coordinator; and Kayla Marie I. Castro, RPD Officer

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