SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES. The Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry is backing a proposal to give incentives to cities and municipalities with jurisdiction over municipal waters with incentives to adopt a strategy for sustainable fisheries. The ecosystems approach to fisheries management (EAFM) of the USAID Fish Right Program is being pushed for full implementation in the coastal areas of Negros Oriental. (PNA photo by Judy Flores Partlow) 

DUMAGUETE CITY – The Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NOCCI) is backing a proposed ordinance providing an incentive mechanism for local government units (LGUs) in the province that will adopt the ecosystems approach to fisheries management (EAFM) for sustainable fisheries.

NOCCI president Edward Du told the Philippine News Agency on Friday the proposed ordinance is “not punitive” but rather a measure to encourage cities and municipalities with jurisdiction over municipal waters to use the EAFM approach by offering them incentives.

“The EAFM is a strategy of the USAID (United States Agency for International Development) Fish Right Program that is being implemented here, with the NOCCI being one of its partners, to address and combat the decline in fisheries,” Du said in mixed English and Cebuano.

“We are backing that ordinance because hopefully, that will help increase our fish production and at the same time protect our seas and marine resources,” he added.

The ordinance will be based on collective inputs from USAID Fish Rights dialogues and public hearings with all the stakeholders, including municipal fisherfolks, cooperatives, business groups, commercial fishing operators, and LGUs, Du said.

A public hearing in aid of legislation was held on Wednesday “just to make sure that no one will object to the (proposed) ordinance,” the chamber president said.

Giving incentives to LGUs for adopting the EAFM approach would encourage the towns and cities to strengthen their advocacies on sustainable development, particularly in the fisheries sector.

The EAFM is an integrated management approach across coastal and marine areas and their natural resources that promotes conservation and sustainable use of the whole ecosystem, according to the website of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (Seafdec), a partner of USAID on the EAFM. (PNA)