USAID and Philippine Partners celebrate Marine Biodiversity Program achievements

MANILA — Officials from the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines joined Philippine government and project partners in celebrating the conclusion of the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Ecosystems Improved for Sustainable Fisheries (ECOFISH) Project held on May 26, 2017.

For the past five years, the P800 million ECOFISH project has successfully worked with national and local governments, the private sector, and local communities to conserve marine biodiversity, enhance ecosystem productivity, and improve fisheries and livelihoods in the Philippines.

USAID worked with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), local government units, civil society organizations, and the private sector to improve fisheries management and combat illegal fishing practices that threaten ecosystems and local economies.

Among the project’s achievements, the USAID ECOFISH project improved the management of more than 800,000 hectares of marine waters in 40 municipalities of the Philippines.

“In partnership with the Philippine government, the ECOFISH project improved biodiversity conservation in eight critical locations, ensuring that Filipinos, both today and in the future, benefit from productive fisheries and the robust ecosystem services that healthy marine environments provide,” said U.S. Embassy Chargé dAffaires Michael Klecheski in his remarks during the closing ceremony.

In her keynote speech, Vice President Leni Robredo noted the partnership of the United States and the Philippines in protecting marine biodiversity and the sustainability of fisherfolks’ way of life.

“As stewards of this planet, we must ensure that our natural resources are efficiently managed for future generations.  This includes the conservation and protection of our waters and marine life,” Robredo said.

In partnership with BFAR, USAID’s ECOFISH project leaves a legacy of positive change that will foster future initiatives for the conservation, protection, and sustainable management of Philippine coastal and ocean resources. (US Embassy report)