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The World Bank has approved a fisheries project in the Philippines that will benefit over 1.15 million fishermen, small and medium-sized enterprises, and residents of coastal communities. Known as the Philippine Fisheries and Coastal Resilience Project (FISHCORE), this project will receive funding amounting to USD 176 million (EUR 164 million). Its main objectives are to enhance fisheries management, boost the value of fish production, and increase incomes in coastal communities.

The fisheries sector in the Philippines is a vital source of income and protein. This sector currently contributes 1.3 percent of the Philippines’ GDP and provides approximately 1.6 million jobs. Moreover, it also accounts for more than 50% of the protein sources of Filipino families. These statistics highlight the significance of this industry and the remarkable potential it holds when given a financial boost.

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So far, it has been a sector with many challenges and few solutions. These include declining fish stocks, destructive fishing methods, habitat degradation, and negative impacts from land-based activities. Thus, FISHCORE and the Philippine government aim to counteract these trends and support sustainable growth in the fisheries sector.

“The long-term goal is to foster enhanced community resilience in these coastal regions. It which will be reflected in thriving fish-stocks, improved food security, reduced poverty, and heightened competitiveness in key seafood commodities,” said Ndiamé Diop, World Bank Country Director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand.

However, the project will expand beyond fishing

The project also aims to improve aquaculture. Although the country has great potential, aquaculture production has declined by about 10% over the last decade. In fact, between 20% and 40% of the total fish caught and farmed are lost each year due to poor post-harvest practices. Therefore, to reduce these losses, FISHCORE will provide support to aquaculture initiatives and focus on enhancing the value of fish products. These efforts will directly contribute to boosting the income of fishery and fish farming organizations.

Finally, as a macro project, FISHCORE will go further. It will support enterprise formation among fishermen’s associations, provide livelihood grants to eligible beneficiaries, and support vocational training programs for livelihood diversification.

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