Report (download)

Report (without photographs)


 January 27-31, 2012

Quezon City, Philippines

Narrative Report 

Prepared by Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya—National Federation of Small Fisherfolk Organizations in the Philippines)


1.      Backgrounder

On January 16, 2012, Pamalakaya director Gerardo Quezon Corpuz based in Bohol, Philippines and Antonio Onorati (IPC Focal International Focal Point) for the contractor based in Rome, Italy signed an agreement to carry out a national consultation in the Philippines on the proposed UN-FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Small Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries (VG-SSF) which currently undergoing development process through regional and national consultations. 

The national consultation on VG-SSF held in the Philippines from January 27-31 is in response to the historic 29th session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) held in January and February 2011 in Rome where the world food agency pushed for the development of a new international instrument to reinforce the rule of Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF).

The Philippine consultation and workshop as envisioned by FAO aims to improve the VG-SSF with the active engagement of small-fishing communities and social movement organizations in further developing and improving the UN-FAO guidelines to protect the rights of small-scale fisheries.

The engagement of Pamalakaya as a civil society organization or a federation of 43 provincial and 9 regional fisherfolk formations in the Philippines on UN-FAO supported workshop on VGSSF is a welcome news for its national and regional leaders and the more than 100,000 mass members of the federation. 

The UN-FAO supported consultation in the Philippines as facilitated by IPC in cooperation with International Collective in Support of Fish workers (ICSF) added a new milestone in the advocacy of Pamalakaya for sectoral empowerment now spanning for 25 years since its inception in December 1987. It provided the Philippine fisherfolk association an impetus to actively engage in developmental and institutional support body like the UNF-FAO as far as small-scale fisheries is concerned.

II. Inside Philippine Fisheries (Reports from the Grassroots)

The UN-FAO Philippine Consultation on VG-SSF kicked off with sharing on local situation currently faced by small-scale fisherfolk in their respective communities. This is designed  to immediately get an initial glimpse of current developments taking place at the grassroots communities of small-scale fishermen and source initial proposals from participants based on the actual events taking place at the local, regional and national levels.

On January 16, 2012, Pamalakaya director Gerardo Quezon Corpuz based in Bohol, Philippines and Antonio Onorati (IPC Focal International Focal Point) for the contractor based in Rome, Italy signed an agreement to carry out a national consultation in the Philippines on the proposed UN-FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Small Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries (VG-SSF) which currently undergoing development process through regional and national consultations.

The national consultation on VG-SSF held in the Philippines from January 27-31 is in response to the historic 29th session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) held in January and February 2011 in Rome where the world food agency pushed for the development of a new international instrument to reinforce the rule of Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF).

The participants from different provinces provided these reports: Here are the highlights. 

1.      Laguna Lake inland fishermen worried about the privatization of the 94,000 hectare lake (Reports from Laguna and Rizal provinces)


·         54 major projects will be implemented in the 94,000 hectare lake

·         Dredging of the 94,000 hectare lake to improve navigation, install ferry stations for eco-tourism purposes

·         Eco-tourism projects around the lake

·         Construction of 100-km road dike from Taytay, Rizal to Sta. Cruz, Laguna

·         Reclamation projects along  shore land of Laguna Lake, 5,000 hectares of lake shores in Taguig and Muntinlupa will be reclaimed to give way to construction of high end condominiums and world class hotels

·         Construction of another international airport in Talim Island, a denuded watershed.

·         Big water concessionaires such as Maynilad Water and Manila Water corporations are sourcing 300 million liters and 1 million liters of water from the lake on a daily basis respectively and they want to make it permanent and source more water from the fragile lake.

·         The remaining water shed of Laguna Lake is now open for mining. Some 1,236 hectare of Talim Island in Laguna de Bay is primed for basalt mining and sourcing of filling materials.

·         The master plan according to leaders of Pamalakaya and the broad alliance Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) will force the eviction of some 500,000 fishing and urban poor families. Another study projected a displacement of 3.9 million people composed of small fishermen, poor farmers and other residents of more than 30 towns and cities surrounding Laguna Lake (Rizal, Laguna and cities of Taguig and Muntinlupa in the National Capital Region)

·         The threat to livelihood of some 27,000 inland fishing families sourcing their livelihood from Laguna Lake

·         The death of Laguna Lake, Asia’s second largest lake and the Philippines largest lake.


2.      The National Reclamation Plan of the Philippine Government In Manila Bay and other parts of the country.


·         National reclamation plan as projected by the Philippine Reclamation Authority involves 95 reclamation projects all over the country.

·         38 reclamation projects are in Manila Bay area (Cavite to Bataan) that would involve reclamation of 26,234 hectares of foreshore areas, there are 7 reclamation projects in Moro Gulf (238 hectares) and 50 more reclamation projects across-the-archipelago that would entail the reclamation of 5,800 hectares

·         Impacts of reclamation include destruction of marine habitats and ecological balance, loss of livelihood and community displacement of fishing villages, diminish and eradicate the natural defense barriers of coastal communities to climate change and storm surge to mention a few



3.      Threats of black sand mining all over the country

 Eastern Visayas


·         According to reports gathered by Pamalakaya- Eastern Visayas chapter there are 107 offshore mining applications in the region, 17 are applied for magnetite mining which covers several municipalities of Samar, Leyte, Southern Leyte and Biliran.


·         Small fisherfolk in Region VIII feared that magnetite offshore mining operations in the region would usher an era of environmental destruction, perpetual disasters and gross denial of fisherfolk livelihood across the Eastern Visayas region;


·         The Department of Environment of Natural Resources (DENR) is now processing the applications of magnetite giants like Nicua Corporation which will cover 5,390 hectares of coastal areas in the towns of Tanauan, Tolosa, Julita and Dulag in Leyte, Kando Mining Company; 3,945 hectares (Dulag, Mayorga and Julita towns in Leyte), Rushfield Mining Company; 5,309 hectares (Palo, Tanauan and Tacloban City, Leyte) and Minoro Mining and Exploration Corporation; 6,375 hectares (Alang-alang, Sta. Fe, Jaro, Pastran and Palo, Leyte);

Ilocos Region and Cagayan blacksand mining


·         There are 15 magnetite mining applications in the onshore and offshore areas of San Juan (2, offshore), Bacnotan (2 offshore), Balaoan (2 offshore), Luna (1 offshore), Bangar (2, 1 offshore, 1 onshore), Pugo (1 onshore), Burgos (1 onshore), Santol (1 onshore) and Sudipen (3 onshore) in La Union province alone.


·         In Ilocos Sur, there are 57 blacksand mining applications in Ilocos Sur province, with 4 in Tagudin, 4 in Sta.Cruz, 5 in Sta. Lucia, 4 in Candon City, 4 in Santiago, 4 in San Esteban, 5 in Sta. Maria, 5 in Narvacan, 8 in Santa, 5 in Caoayan, 4 in Sta.Catalina and 4 in Vigan City.


·         In Ilocos Norte, 86 applications for magnetite mining in Ilocos Norte province are pending before the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (  MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) which cover the towns of Badoc (6), Pinili (3) Paoay (3), Laoag (3), Currimao (4), Bacarra (3), Pasuquin (13), Burgos (4), Bangui (1), Pagudpud (2), Batac (1), Banna (5), Nueva Era (7), Marcos (6), Solsona (3), Carasi (5), Dingras (5), Vintar (6), Adams (2), Piddig (3) and Dumalneg (1).


·         The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the provincial and local government units in Cagayan refused to recall magnetite mining activities in the towns of Aparri, Buguey, Lallo, Camalaniugan, and Gonzaga from ravaging the marine environment of Cagayan River and its coastal areas. About 12,000 hectares of Cagayan coastal area is primed for blacksand mining at the expense of livelihood and environment.


4.      The horrible impact of eco-zone project in Aurora province known as Aurora Pacific Economic and Free Port Zone


·         Around 12, 427 hectares of indigenous and agricultural lands will be covered by the ambitious eco-zone project. It will also entail the unhampered use of coastal areas along Casiguran Bay. The project will affect indigenous people, small fisherfolk and small farmers


·         The project affects about 5,430 residents of five barangays and eventually 22,403 residents of Casiguran or even more from different towns.  Among them, at least 796 are fisherfolk, 7,272 are peasant women and 600 women are involved in fishing.  Northern Aurora, as well as the whole province is also home for indigenous people such as the Dumagat and Igorot.


·         It should also be noted that rice farms in barangay (village) Esteves and Dibet are considered the rice granary of northern Aurora, while the San Ildefonso peninsula supplies fish, coconut and other crop.


·         In general, APECO violates the fundamental rights of the people to land, ancestral claim and livelihood to give way to the interests of landlord clan Angara, foreign and local investors and the Aquino government.  APECO is not the right path of development for Aurora as it totally disregards the rights and welfare of the people.


1.      Fisherfolk woes in Cebu province and Bohol Island in Central Visayas


·         Fisherfolk in Cebu, an island province in Southern Philippines are facing various types of problems emanating from different sectors and various usages of fishing waters for private appropriation and use.


·         The Philippine government has sold the one of small islets of the province—the village of Gibitngil in the municipality of Medellin in Cebu. The 209 hectare island is primed for another eco-tourism project under the slogan It is More Fun in  the Philippines to attract both foreign and local investor in the local tourism industry


·          The provincial government of Cebu also planned to undertake reclamation of 110 hectares in Cordova Island, another island which part of Cebu for eco-tourism expansion and construction of an international airport.


·         Initially, the government targeted the reclamation of 3,500 hectares of foreshore area and mangrove forest in Cordova, but because of the opposition of local Pamalakaya chapter in Cordova, the project was indefinitely stopped by the local and national government.


·         In Bohol Island, the project to put up 2 man-made islands for eco-tourism ( the first project is supposed to involve the offshore reclamation of 400 hectares, and the second project will reclaim 200 hectares of offshore waters ) was stopped due to fisherfolk and popular opposition put up by local environmentalists and concerned government officials in Panglao Island.


·         Commercial fishing vessels still operate within the 15-kilometer municipal fishing waters of all Visayan Sea. Reports said owners of these commercial fishing vessels are based in Cebu and Palawan provinces (Southern Luzon).


2.      Bicolano fishermen wary of offshore mining


·         Offshore mining  for black sand materials will cover several towns of two provinces namely the provinces of  Camarines Sur and Albay. According to reports, offshore magnetite mining had covered 959,000 hectares of offshore waters.

·         Local governments in Albay province are declaring municipal waters as fish sanctuaries and they have been preventing small fisherfolk to fish near in declared fish sanctuary areas, thus further delimiting areas for fish capture and this measure has tremendously affected fish catch activities of small fishermen. The average fish catch was reduced from a regular low of 5 kilos per day to 2 kilos per day due to undeclared fish ban in fishing municipalities.

·         In Rapu-Rapu, Albay, unhampered mining activities had resumed covering 60 percent of the total land area of island town, and the mining company still dumps toxic wastes into the waters of Albay Gulf causing fish kills and big decline in fish catch of small fishermen.

·         In Masbate, the common problems faced by small fisherfolk include the exploitation of fishing waters by large-scale commercial fishers, the open pit mining in several towns of the island province, the proliferation of fish sanctuaries which effectively ban small-scale fishermen from fishing and the exorbitant fees imposed on small fisherfolk if they violate fisheries ordinance compared to commercial fishers


3.      Battered fishermen of Batangas province


·         Coast guards in the province treat small fisherfolk like common criminals if they get near to fish sanctuary areas or if they do not follow certain ordinances like color coding and other fishing ordinance which prohibit them from fishing from their town to another town even if they belong to the same province and situated along a common fishing area such as bay.


·         Commercial fishing vessels regularly fish inside the 15-kilometer municipal fishing waters which are reserved for small scale fishermen.


·         Batangas fishers are also alarmed of the open pit mining activities to be undertaken near farming and coastal communities all over the province. In January 2012,  Provincial Board Resolution No. 253 allowing the Canadian firm Asian Arc- Crazy Horse mining company, along with its subsidiary Kumakata Mining Inc., to explore the town of Taysan for gold, copper, lead and zinc.


·         The mining exploration will cover 12,000 hectares. It is now on its second development stage. Prior to the approval of the Crazy Horse permit, the provincial government has endorsed the mining exploration of Mindoro Resources Ltd. (MRL) which acquired an exploration permit and a mineral production sharing agreement with the provincial government to tap 29,000 hectares of mining area in the hinterlands of Batangas City, San Juan, Rosario, Taysan and Lobo, all farming and fishing communities in Batangas province.

·         The mining along farming and fishing villages will affect the destroy these main sources of income and food among the province farmers and fishermen


4.      Navotas City reclamation project


·         Small fisherfolk oppose the construction of a P 50-B reclamation project in Navotas City, which proponents including the city government hyped  will place this fishing city in the National Capital Region (NCR) in  the roadmap of national development.


·         The P 50-B North Bay Boulevard Reclamation Project which will engage the reclamation of 3.3 kilometer of the city’s foreshore areas comprising 14 coastal barangays. Along its stretch, a 145 hectare multi-use hub will be constructed, starting from C-4 to Barangay Tangos.


·         A total of 20,000 fishing families will be affected by the reclamation and development projects in Navotas City, one of the 17 cities in the National Capital Region. 


1.      Offshore mining for oil and gas in the Philippines


·         There are 15 contracts offered by the national government for oil and gas mining in the Philippines.


·         Majority of these contracts cover the West Philippine Sea/ Spratlys island in Palawan, There are also oil and gas explorations in Sulu in Mindanao, Antique in Panay Island, Ragay Gulf in Bicol Region, Visayan Sea (Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas and Negros Island)


·         The offshore mining in Palawan province will cover 10 million hectares of ocean waters. Most of the investors will come from United States, Europe, Japan and Australia.


·         A possible environmental catastrophe in ocean waters due to offshore mining is concluded among fisherfolk organizations and environmental groups.


III. Reports of Workshop Groups




The Philippine consultation on UN-FAO VG-SFF in the Philippines held on January 27-31, 2012 was attended by 56 fisherfolk leaders, environmental NGOs and advocates.  About 38 of them are men and 19 are women leaders and coordinators of fisherfolk and advocacy groups in Philippine fisheries.


The participants came from the following provinces and regions: Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon and Palawan in Southern Tagalog Region; Bulacan, Bataan, Zambales and Aurora provinces in Central Luzon region, La Union and Ilocos Sur in Ilocos Region, Cagayan in Cagayan Valley region, Navotas City in National Capital Region, Albay, Sorsogon and Masbate in Bicol Region, all in Luzon Island.


From the Visayas, participants came from the province of Leyte  and Northern Samar (Eastern Visayas), Cebu and Bohol (in Central Visayas) and from Iloilo and Capiz provinces in Panay Island.


The lone representative of Mindanao Island came from Northern Mindanao Region who represents the provinces of Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Cagayan de Oro and other fishing communities in Caraga region. 


Topic:  Small Scale Fisheries in Grassroots Context 

 The 17 members of the Focus Group Discussion No.1 on Topic No.1 “ Small-Scale Fisheries in their Context”  discussed and agreed among themselves their definition of small-scale fisheries.

 Highlights of the report:


1.      Small-scale fisheries represent the most backward element in the Philippine fisheries sector. The system of production is small-scale, scattered and very backward. The fishing gears used by sector in small-scale fisheries are extremely backward and the level of technology is still way below compared to that use by fishing operators in the commercial and aquaculture subsectors.


2.      Commercial fishing and aquaculture operators in the country employ relatively advance fishing gears and technologies. Aside from enjoying such advantage, the capital in fishing industry is also concentrated to them and they use this position to monopolize fish catch and fish culture activities in marine and inland fisheries since time immemorial.


The national government and support institutions in the country also provide fishing capitalists the necessary support in terms of budgetary support, fuel discounts and tax holidays to encourage them further to produce more for export rather address the domestic needs of the people. Between, the commercial and aquaculture sector, the latter is focused on exportation of fishery products, while the domestic market still commands most of the fishery products produced by commercial fishery sector.


3.      The 1.3 million small fisherfolk employed or engaged in small-scale fisheries are now considered the poorest of the poor in the country. Daily income is pegged between Php 50 to Php 150 due to a number of factors—1. Small catch due to proliferation of commercial fishing vessels inside the 15-kilometer municipal fishing ground which is supposed to be reserved to small-scale fishermen. 2). The exploitation of municipal fishing areas by large-scale, medium-scale and small-scale commercial fishing to the detriment of small-scale fisherfolk. 3). The overpricing of fishing gears and inputs, the high cost of petroleum products. 4). The under pricing of fish products by middle men and fish traders.

4.      Nearly 100 percent of the produce of small-scale fisheries is intended for domestic consumption, and therefore, a main source of food and protein of more than 100 million Filipinos all over the country.


5.      As for job generation is concerned, 70 percent of the population in a fishing village is directly or indirectly dependent on backward fishing industry.


6.      Other problems confronting small-scale fisheries include the unbridled entry of commercial fishing vessels inside the 15-kilometer municipal fishing water, the diminishing fishing area mainly because fish bans, fishing demarcations or ordinances that effectively prohibit fishing due to  so-called overfishing and overexploitation of fishery resources.


7.      Small-scale fisherfolk also complained against municipal ordinances that effectively ban fishing and on the other hand allow local government units to set up fish sanctuaries not really for preservation and resource regeneration but to attract foreign tourists and private beach developers.


8.      People in small-scale fisheries are victims of non- people centered development projects of the national and local governments and their private partners. In Iloilo province for instance, the Philippine government will wipe out 10,000 fishing families and urban poor households along Iloilo River to give way to an eco-tourism project known as Esplanade.


Other development projects which participants in Workshop Group 1 said are threats to their livelihood and community rights include the economic zone project in Aurora ( more than 5,000 families of indigenous people, fisherfolk and farmers will be displaced to give way to ecozone and free port area), the reclamation project in Cordova, Cebu and the 107 black sand mining in the offshore waters of Eastern Visayas.


9.      Fisherfolk and NGO participants said while the 1987 Philippine Constitution recognizes the rights of the fishing people to livelihood, and their basic human rights and community rights, pertinent laws and local legislations in Philippine fisheries that are supposed to carry out these recognized rights are not working nor effective in upholding these rights. 


Among the laws cited which they said merely favor the interest of fishing capitalists in local fisheries are the 1998 Fisheries Code of 1998 and the Agricultural and Fisheries and Modernization Act (AFMA) which they said are designed to accommodate and follow transnational and corporate interest and greed under neo-liberal globalization and framework of World Trade Organization (WTO) effectively controlled by power fish producing and fish exporting countries.


Highlights of Working Group 2's Report on Small Scale Fisheries in their context


1.      Small-scale fisheries in the Philippines are represented by poor fisherfolk who use motorized banca powered with 16 horse power and below. However, many of them still use paddle or offer their service to small-boat owning fisherman for a part or fraction of net proceeds


2.      Even if the 15-kilometer municipal fishing water is reserved to them for fishing, people employed or sourced their income from small-scale fishery cannot even reach the 15-kilometer limit because their boats and gears are extremely backward and the fuel cost eats up 80 percent of production cost.


3.      Small-scale fisheries in the Philippines also indicate the massive and extensive use of traditional fishing gears, and low cost techniques and methods such as hook and line fishing, net fishing from small boat, the use of fish traps, shell gathering and fish catching through bare hands.


4.      Participants argued that these kinds of fishing methods are not destructive, pro-environment ,and therefore should not be misconstrued as destructive fishing employed by commercial fisheries.


5.      Seasonal fish workers are also included in small-scale fisheries sector whether they are in commercial fishing or aquaculture production. They stressed that these section of the working people in fisheries receive slave-like wages from their seasonal employers ranging from P 80 per day to P 200 per day which is way below the P 350 per day wage set by the country’s regional wage boards in rural areas and P 430 per day for non-agricultural workers in towns and cities.


6.      In Laguna Lake, small-scale fishermen cannot pay the required fees set by Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) and such exorbitant permit fees imposed to poor fishermen who want culture fish inside the 94,000 hectare lake either disallow them from setting up fish cages and small fishpens nor force them to set up small cages and pens without informing the local authority. When the LLDA talks about illegal fishing in the lake, it is referring to small fishermen who cannot afford franchise or license fees amounting to tens of thousands of pesos.


At present, almost 20 percent (some say it’s 30 percent) of the 94,000 hectare lake are occupied by domestic and foreign aquaculture associations for fish culture production, while the LLDA on year round and perpetual basis tags small-scale fishermen as illegal fishers and objects of institutional witch hunting.


7.      A small-fisherfolk usually spends 7 hours to 12 hours per fishing trip. He is accompanied by his son and most of the time they return either with five kilos of catch or empty net at all.  The wife takes charge of selling his husband and his son’s catch.

8.      Majority of the small-fisherfolk and their families do not own lands in the Philippines. Even if they are in fishing communities and live in villages for generations, there is no assurance that they will stay there and their community rights secured. The current trend of lump-sum privatization and conversion of fishing grounds and villages for development projects have been displacing small fisher families at an alarming rate since the era of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.


9.      Participants said a robust increase in the production of small-scale fisheries can transform an ordinary fishing village into a highly productive and progressive town or city. They said improved fish catch can accelerate growth and progress, mobilize and activate local fish markets, mobilize transportation means to the fullest and promote exchange and sharing of products and services.


10.  Participants said current development undertakings of the Philippine government under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program are fast becoming a major threat to small fishing communities. They said the privatization, commercialization and conversion of fishing villages in coastal and inland areas are displacing people in communities in their tens of thousands as showcased by Laguna Lake master development plan project where 82,000 households are to be demolished to pave way for private-funded projects.


11.  Among the recommendations of the group for policy advocacy campaign include an immediate halt to all destructive projects along coastal shores and inland shore lands like reclamation, offshore and on shore mining, the provision for production subsidies to small-scale fisheries, quick relief operations in times of disaster, capacity building on climate change and effective disaster response and promotion of mangrove reforestation in threatened fishing communities as part of the general program on rehabilitation. 



 Highlights of Working Group 3's Report on Small Scale Fisheries in their Context


1.      Small-scale fisheries constitute traditional and subsistence fishermen,  wage-earning and seasonal fish workers in commercial and aquaculture sectors, fish vendors, boatless fishers and helpers in aquaculture


2.      Small fishermen in the country still employ backward fishing methods mostly hook and line, and motorized bancas are powered by 16 horsepower engines or below. They can’t go beyond 15 kilometer because of low technology in fishing


3.      Due to chronic economic crisis and the failure of economy to boost productivity and increase income among poor fisherfolk, small-scale fishery people are forced to look for other jobs. Fisherfolk also look for menial jobs and engage in construction work, fisherwomen look out for laundry job for additional income. 

4.      Small scale fisherfolk have no capital to invest and procure additional gears. They use to source loan from merchant capitalists and in return pay 20 percent interest for the loan.

5.      Workshop participants insist the national government should provide comprehensive support and protection to small scale fisheries as the following compelling reasons so assert:

·         Most of small-scale fishery folks are located in danger zone areas

·         Small-scale fishery production provide 80 percent of the protein need of the immediate communities, and roughly 50 percent of the produce in fish catch production, the other 50 percent come from commercial fishery sectors

·         Communities and villages of small-scale fisheries are highly vulnerable to climate change, natural disasters and even by state development projects causing wholesale demolitions of fishing villages

·         Small-scale fisherfolk are battered by high cost of gears and equipment, including weekly increases in the prices of petroleum products

·         Decreasing catch and therefore decreasing income, from a high of 10 kilos 10 years ago, the average fish catch among small-scale fishery now pegged between 2 kilos to 5 kilos of fish a day

·         Overpricing of inputs and underpricing of fish catch

·         Laws, programs and policies of the state are not responsive to the demand and collective interest of small-scale fisheries

·         Other current threats to small-scale fisheries include globalization and free flow of goods and capital, bilateral arrangements like Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (Jpepa)

·         Instead of reclamation, participants suggest the government to undertake massive mangrove forestation

·         Threats of large-scale mining operations, unhampered and government sanctioned intrusion of commercial fishing vessels

·         Non-recognition of fishers rights by the national and local governments and their agencies

·         Widespread conversion of mangrove areas to large-scale aquaculture

·         Militarization or government troops deployment in fishing villages that sow terror and violations of human rights and political rights among members of coastal and inland communities. 



Topic: “How small-scale fisheries would ensure their recommendations and proposals would be carried out in the UN-FAO and in their own country?


Workshop Group No. 1

Highlights of the Report:


1.      The UN-FAO should first be convinced and declared that small-scale fisheries should be prioritized in all levels of policy, laws and governance

2.      The UN-FAO should also recognize that majority of the workforce in Philippine fisheries are small-scale, artisanal and subsistence fisherfolk and therefore, should be given the highest priority and utmost concern for institutional building

3.      The UN-FAO should also recognize the significant role and socio-economic and political rights of 1.3 million small-scale fisheries in the development of Philippine agriculture and fisheries. The UN body should likewise recognize and respect the indigenous ways and collective culture of small fisherfolk and their  principal role in protecting the environment and in nation building

4.      The UN –FAO should recognize the need to invest global resources and political wisdom through launching of capacity building programs that would enhance the education, organizing and mobilization of small-scale fisheries to secure sustainability and global, regional and national progress in fisheries across the world.

5.      The UN-FAO should influence states and governments to draft policies that would halt all development aggressions, privatization, commercialization and conversion of coastal and inland communities. These current trends are displacing small-scale fisheries in their tens of thousands.

6.      The UN-FAO should encourage states and governments to put to review or possible repeal existing policy directions, laws and programs in fisheries which effected negative impacts and adverse affects to rights and livelihood of small-scale fisheries

7.      The UN-FAO VG-SSF will be rendered ineffective if states and governments will continue to implement their laws, programs and policies detrimental and inimical to small-scale fisheries

8.      The UN-FAO should encourage states and governments to give appropriate representations to small-scale fisheries in the drafting, decision making and promulgation of policies and programs in fisheries at international, regional, national and local levels.

9.      The UN-FAO should facilitate conferences and meetings that would convene civil society actors in different parts of the world for global meeting of minds pertaining to securing sustainability of small-scale fisheries and upholding basic human rights

10.  To effectively address these concerns (1-9), the UN-FAO should carry out institutional support for different capacity building programs involving education, organizing and mass mobilization of small-scale fisheries for effective advocacy.

In concrete terms, the UN-FAO should pursue massive education campaign on different international laws and instruments relevant and pertinent to small-scale fisheries like the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF), Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD), ILO convention on the rights of fish workers, the UN declaration on human rights, the UN convention on the socio-economic and political rights and the likes.


The UN-FAO should also support the lobbying efforts of SSF in their respective countries (Philippine Congress, Office of the President, concerned government agencies like departments of agrarian reform, agriculture, environment and natural resources) to make sure the VG-SSF is being considered in formulations of policies, programs, laws and agreements.


11.  The UN-FAO should make use of its point persons/ special rapporteurs to conduct yearly or periodic evaluation and performance of states and governments as far as VG-SSF  is concerned, including special rapporteur investigations on issues pertaining to food rights and water rights


Workshop Group 2 on Topic No.2 

Highlights of the Report:


1.       Workshop participants in this group asked the UN-FAO to facilitate the drafting and approval of UN convention for small-scale fisheries and make sure this convention would be binding enough to demand accountability from erring governments and states.


Participants argued that while there are UN instruments which can be used to guide and encourage states as to settle territorial claims and disputes like UNCLOS and Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, these instruments are not sufficient to ensure securing rights of small-scale fisheries.


2.       Participants recommend the formation of a committee or body within UN-FAO that will directly focus on and attend to the pressing concerns and issues of small-scale fisheries at the global scale.


3.       Participants also asked UN-FAO to establish country committee or commission NGOs or fishery experts that would monitor the conduct of fishery policies per country.


4.       Participants n this workshop also recommend UN-FAO to encourage governments or states to put under review all laws governing territorial claims, fisheries and resource management and make these laws responsive to the growing concern of SSF.


5.       UN-FAO should strengthen the proposed guidelines by incorporating pertinent instruments, conventions and protocol that would promote fishing rights as primordial concern of every government or state and its officials.


6.       UN-FAO should put up mechanisms or machineries that would ensure governments and states and civil society actors are obliged to support effort in combating climate change and in promoting risk disaster reduction campaign to help vulnerable sectors like SSF cope with extreme change or disturbances in weather conditions and in times of natural calamities


7.       UN-FAO should influence policy making in every state to make sure policies pertaining to fishing livelihood, climate change and water environment are thoroughly considered in formulation of development policies, thrusts and directions.


8.       UN-FAO should support legal and para-legal programs in support of SSF. In developing countries like the Philippines, legal and para-legal services are not within reach by small-scale fishers because they don’t have the money to pay for legal services.  Participants suggest UN-FAO to instruct member-states and nations to ensure adequate legal support to small-scale fisherfolk.




1.      UN-FAO should support initiatives of small-scale fisherfolk organizations and NGOs  for capacity building programs which include regular and periodic inputs of leaders and leading actors of SSF and civil society movements


2.      Massive information dissemination campaign on the current thrust of UN-FAO and COFI at the grassroots level


3.      Support to organizing of small fishermen into associations and cooperatives


4.      Information technology development, utilization of third media such as internet for propagation of UN-FAO voluntary guidelines for small-scale fisheries


5.      At all levels, SSF organizations and advocates should reach out other groups for effective advocacy


6.      UN-FAO should encourage states and governments to listen more to grassroots organizations instead of giving more time and emphasis to corporate voices and agenda