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South East Asia: 38 Mln Involved in Fisheries

PHILIPPINES - In Southeast Asia, some 38 million people are directly engage in fisheries for their livelihood and half a billion people depend on fishery products for food and protein intake.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said that the Philippines is an active member of five regional initiatives on fisheries and aquaculture cooperation including a project establishing partnership with Southeast Asia Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) that led to several projects contributing to sustainability of marine resources in the region.

"The most marginalized - depend on these resources for subsistence survival and small basic incomes"
Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap

With the remarkable advances in technology for fishing, processing and aquaculture as well as in quality control and hygiene management, the region became one of the world's major supplies of marine products, Secretary Yap said.

"However, fishery resources across Southeast Asia and the rest of Asia-Pacific are increasingly under pressure while many people - mostly the most marginalized - depend on these resources for subsistence survival and small basic incomes," he said.

This is the reason why close cooperation among Southeast Asian countries is necessary to guarantee sustainability of fishery resources in the region, he further said.

SEAFDEC, the Philippines through BFAR headed by Malcolm Sarmiento, Jr. and seven other Asian countries have started tagging five species like galunggong and hasa-hasa in the South China Sea and Andaman Seas under a three-year collaborative research on the migration patterns of small pelagic fishes in these waters.

Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia (Peninsula, Sabah, and Sarawak), Vietnam and Myanmar are other country-partners in this project.

The project will also look into local policy development and strengthening partnerships in community monitoring and enforcement of natural resources regulations.