Monday was the kickoff of the Philippines first ever Sustainable Seafood Week in the capital, Manila.
The focus of this week is provide alternatives to unsustainable fishing practices that are quite common in the Philippines. To do so, international NGOs such as Greenpeace, RARE, and Centre for Sustainability, and more created partnerships with several of the most popular hotels and restaurants in Manila to ensure they provide sustainably-caught fish on their menus this week.
On a local level, these organizations have created proactive workshops to involve locals on sustainable seafood harvesting and consumption. These workshops are meant to teach non-commercial fishermen how to harvest using techniques that are non-invasive to bycatch and reefs.
The Philippines rely heavily on oceans for daily sustenance. Waters within the EEZ have significantly decreased fish populations. These populations must be managed and restored to ensure a sustainable future for the Filipino people. The locals are where of this and are largely optimistic in collaborating with these projects since they have observed the diminished populations over time and how these management techniques have improved their livelihood.
I felt very connected to this article and was happy to see this level of progress because I am about to begin an independent study focused on the political ecology of marine protected areas in Southeast Asia in order to strengthen my application for the Philippines Coastal Resource Management program of the Peace Corps. If I am able to enter this program, I would be implementing programs and activities such as those described above.