The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) began implementing the Fish Right Program, which aims to connect organized fisher groups and encourage the adoption of responsible fishing practices in coastal communities after a two-year hiatus following the declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic,

Representatives from the DTI, USAID, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), and local government units convened in Busuanga and Culion, Palawan, on April 27-29, 2022, for an onsite Fish Right planning and site visit to the proposed beneficiaries.

In a press statement, the DTI said the pilot batch of people’s associations identified and assessed for the program include the Busuanga Federation of Fisherfolks and Farmers Associations, Busuanga Gender Network, Bogtong Fish Processors Association, 3BG (Brgy. Bogtong Bantay Gubat), Baldat Fisherfolks and Farmers Association, and the Barangay Quezon MPA Management Council.

Assistant Secretary Joan Karen A. Riola of the DTI’s Legal Services, Director Lydia R. Guevarra of the DTI’s Resource Generation and Management Service, and Director Patricia May M. Abejo of the DTI’s Knowledge Management and Information Service oversaw the onsite ocular and planning activity. Apart from this, the DTI representatives have also conducted an information session on the agency’s programs and services for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) during their visit.

In the next two years, the program aims to develop value-added products based on actual industry needs and in support of strengthening local food security, mainstream ecosystem-approach to fisheries management (EAFM) and responsible seafood sourcing (RSS) in business operations, and scale-up by creating more fish consolidation hubs.

“DTI is in constant partnership with organizations such as USAID and BFAR to meet the needs of our fishing communities in MIMAROPA. As the economic arm of the state, DTI’s role is to improve the lives of these fisherfolks and their families through livelihood and technology assistance, and this, subsequently, contribute to fisheries management and climate resilience in rural areas,” said DTI MIMAROPA regional director Joel B. Valera.