World Bank approves $176-million loan for Philippine fisheries project
FISHERIES output rose by 3% in the first quarter, reversing the 5.8% decline in the same period in 2022. — PHILIPPINE STAR /EDD GUMBAN
THE WORLD BANK has approved a $176-million loan for a new fisheries project in the Philippines.
In a May 30 statement, the multilateral lender said its board of executive directors gave the go signal for the Philippine Fisheries and Coastal Resiliency Project (FISHCORE), which aims to improve fisheries management and production.
“This project aligns with the country’s commitment to environmentally sound practices in fishing and aquaculture expansion while ensuring improved incomes for those involved in the fishing industry — including those involved in production, processing and marketing,” Ndiamé Diop, World Bank country director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand, said.
FISHCORE aims to widen opportunities for fishery products, ensure a steady supply of fish for national food security, and boost competitiveness of small and medium fishery enterprises, the World Bank said.
The project is expected to positively impact over 1.15 million fisherfolk, small-to-medium businesses, and residents in coastal communities.
According to the World Bank, the fisheries sector contributes about 1.3% to gross domestic product (GDP) and accounts for 4% of the labor force or around 1.6 million jobs.
“Despite its importance, the sector has faced challenges with fish stocks declining by an average of 20% over the past decade due to overexploitation, destructive fishing methods, habitat degradation, and negative impacts from land-based activities,” it added.
The project will also support investments to expand aquaculture and fish farming, as well as support the creation of businesses among fishers’ associations and provide livelihood grants to eligible beneficiaries.
The project will be implemented in Fisheries Management Areas (FMA) 6 and 9. FMA 6 covers the coastal waters that include Pagudpud Bay, Subic Bay, and Manila Bay while FMA 9 consists of the coastal waters of the Bohol Sea, Panguil Bay, Iligan Bay, Gingoog Bay, Butuan Bay, and Sogod Bay.
“FISHCORE will support the Philippine government in designing and establishing improved fisheries management systems in the selected FMAs’ coastal and municipal waters,” World Bank Senior Environmental Economist Jingjie Chu said.
The World Bank was the country’s third-largest source of official development assistance (ODA) as of 2021, representing 24% of total ODA or $7.66 billion.
The National Government expects to obtain around $19.1 billion worth of ODA this year. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson