The Davao Gulf is one of the major fishing grounds of Region XI endowed with aquatic habitat such as mangroves, seagrasses and coral reefs supportive to the fisheries development in coastal waters. Data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS XI) reveals that the DIDP area accounts for a total fish production of 55,046 metric tons in 2005. Of the total production, 19.27% is contributed by the commercial fishers, 59.17% is contributed by municipal fishers and 21.55% by aquaculture fishers. Based on the Rapid Appraisal of the Davao Gulf done by the Bureau of Fisheries (BFAR), the Catch Per Unit Effort (CPUE) values in many fish landing stations were very low. This can be attributed to over exploitation of fish resources as manifested by the rampant illegal fishing activities, water pollution, sedimentation and other negative impact created by human pressures.
The Fisherfolks Livelihood Enhancement Project (FLEP) is an intervention under the fifth component of the DIDP Integrated Food Security Program. The FLEP was conceptualized as a strategic approach to bring back the natural capacity of the coastal habitat to regenerate and sustain the coastal resources of the Davao Region. The project was funded under the CY 2005 budget of the DIDP IFSP from DA, with an allocation of P 7.3 M.
The goal of the project is to contribute to the reduction of poverty in the coastal area by providing financial assistance to primary cooperatives and associations to sustain and expand existing fishery projects and enhance fishermen’s income.
The project shall provide start-up funds for livelihood projects based on the objective enabling the marginalized fishermen to build their credit worthiness, which would be their leverage in accessing formal lending channels.
Criteria for Project Site Selection:
- Coastal community should be identified to be among the five poorest coastal barangay within the LGU;
- Beneficiaries organizations must be servicing the coastal barangays;
- Organization must have a good track record on community service;
- Organization must have an existing fishery development interventions with the LGUs and/or other agencies; and
- Majority, if not all, of the organization members are marginalized fishermen.
Criteria for Livelihood Projects:
- Projects should be market driven, sustainable and ecologically sound; and
- Project timeframe should be doable within one (1) year (at most) or less.
Community-based Development Approach. The project will emphasize community development through the empowerment of the community organization in implementing their own development projects for sustainable natural resources management and market led fisheries production.
Coastal Conservation Approach. The community organization will conduct regular coastal resource protection activities together with some land based livelihood to support the natural capacity of coastal habitat to regenerate and replenish its resources.
Roll-over Scheme for Income Generating Projects. The target beneficiaries replenishes the start-up fund granted based on the project’s cash flow. The collected funds will be used to finance other fishery projects for expansion.
Savings Generation Scheme. Through this scheme, beneficiaries will be required to set aside a portion of their income for the project’s future operational needs. Savings will ensure the continuity of the project operations even if assistance from the project has been terminated.
Convergence Approach. The project is a joint effort of the four (4) National Government Agencies (the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and the National Economic and Development Authority), the DIDP, the Local Government Units (LGUs) and the people’s organization in project planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
- Increased commitment of the local communities together with the LGUs in protecting and managing the coastal environment;
- Minimized coastal degradation and environmental destruction through alternative livelihood activities; and
- Increased production and income of fisherfolks.