By MADELAINE B. MIRAFLOR
The Philippine government can soon utilize a new catch documentation system – which took five years to be developed – in addressing illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUUF).
A statement showed that the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), in partnership with the USAID Oceans and Fisheries Partnership (USAID Oceans) and the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC), already completed the establishment of the electronic catch documentation and traceability (e-CDT) system after five years.
The e-CDT system, according to them, will document key information about harvest, processing and transportation of fisheries products. This could enable traceability from harvest and point of origin to the product’s destination, a process that eliminates the chances of IUU fishing and illegally caught fish from entering the market.
The system can also be used in sustainably managing the Philippines’ vast marine and fisheries resources.
With the establishment of Fisheries Management Areas (FMA), BFAR now sets its sight on scaling up the implementation of eCDTS from the project’s pilot site in General Santos City, adopting most of its components while tailor-fitting the system to the area’s fisheries profile.
On Wednesday, USAID Oceans formally turned over the program initiatives to the Philippines during a closeout ceremony.
“The closeout event marks the end of the USAID Oceans’ work in the Philippines and the transition of program initiatives and ongoing efforts to achieve shared objectives to our capable regional and local partners. This event is an opportunity for us to share lessons learned over the past five years related to improving sustainable management of fisheries, developing and implementing eCDT technologies, advancing human welfare and gender equity, and establishing strong partnerships to achieve a common goals,” said John Parks, chief of party at USAID Oceans.
“In addition to providing an integrated platform to visualize and access existing catch documentation and traceability systems, including BFAR’s national eCDT system, these centers will be foundational for analyzing eCDT data and using those data to guide sustainable fisheries management practices,” he added.
For the Philippine government’s part, Agriculture Secretary William Dar thanked the USAID Oceans and its local partners for spearheading the project.