METRO 3rd officials led by Third District Representative Francisco “Kiko” Benitez and Victorias City Mayor Javier Miguel “Javi” Benitez who chairs the Metro 3rd Coastal Management Alliance convened a special meeting of the Negros 3rd District Coastal Resources Management and Development Council (N3DCRMDC) on January 17 in Talisay City to gear up the integrated plans of various stakeholders for the restoration and conservation of coastal resources, efforts on equitable use of resources and more importantly, create more opportunities for marginal fisherfolk.

Cong. Kiko who hosted the meeting, underscored the importance of taking an Eco-System Approach to coastal resource management, and also emphasized the need to take into consideration climate change in policy formulation and support for fisherfolk communities affected by the environmental crisis.

“We must make sure that our coastal resources are managed properly and developed, with two specific variables that need to be kept in mind. First is climate change and how it’s changing our oceans and seas, and second are the fisherfolk that lives off the resources that must be properly managed in a sustainable way,” he said.

Mayor Javi higlighted the importance of coming together to work on how to best manage the Third District’s marine and coastal resources.

“On the macro-level, coastal resource management is important for an archipelagic country like the Philippines in terms of climate change, livelihood for fisheries, and especially for tourism which is an economic driver for our country,” Mayor Javi noted.

A review of the Metro 3rd coastal alliance fisheries and aquatic resource management plan was tackled in the meeting with the guidance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Fish Right Program through Visayan Sea Field Program Coordinator Andrea Leonor Barcelona who presented the status of the Ecosystem-Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) Plan of the Council. Among critical issues that must be tackled by the Council are illegal fishing, black sand mining and sustainability of sardines and shellfish.

The N3CRMDC was formally organized in 2019 bringing together the Third District local government units to intensify synergy and collaborative work with both government and non-government bodies.

The council will refine and finalize its EAFM Plan for the Third District under the guidance of the newly-elected chairperson Mayor Marvin Malacon of E.B Magalona.* (PR)