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THE SOUTH CHINA SEA FISHERIES REFUGIA INITIATIVE

FISHERIES REFUGIA PROJECT SITES

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The 6th Regional Scientific and Technical Committee Meeting

DATE: 4-6 JULY 2022 

LOCATION: SEAFDEC/TD, Samut Prakan, Thailand

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The 7th Ad-hoc Meeting of the Project Steering Committee

DATE: 27 May 2022

TIME: 08:00 – 11:30AM, UTC+7

LOCATION: Virtual Meeting

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Project Document

Project Document

About Fisheries Refugia

About Fisheries Refugia

Refugia Guidelines

Refugia Guidelines

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE RSTC6 MEETING HELD AT SEAFDEC/TD

Project Coordination Unit of the SEAFDEC/UNEP/GEF Project on Establishing and Operation of a Regional System of Fisheries Refugia in the South China Sea and the Gulf of Thailand organized the Sixth Meeting of the Regional Scientific and Technical Committee (RSTC6) at SEAFDEC/Training Department (TD), Samutprakarn Thailand on 4-6 July 2022. The National Scientific and Technical Focal Point attended the meeting from six partner countries. The project's national focal points and the SEAFDEC/TD scientists also participated in the discussions. The RSTC6 finalized the progress works from six countries that align with the Results Framework objectives adopted by GEF/CEO. The main achievement of establishing 15 prioritized Fisheries Refugia Sites in six countries, in addition, to the effective management of critical threats to 15 fisheries refugia sites of about 1.36 million hectares (ha), is expected to be adopted. It is about five folds higher than the proposed refugia areas (269,500 ha) adopted by the GEF/CEO. The details of 15 fisheries refugia are in Table 1. 

SEAFDEC-PCU organized the PSC7 Ad-hoc Meeting

The SEAFDEC/Project Coordination Unit (PCU) organized the 7th Ad-hoc Meeting of the Project Steering Committee (PSC7 Ad-hoc) on 27 May 2022. The meeting is one of the regional programs under the SEAFDEC/UNEP/GEF Project on Establishment and Operation of a Regional System of Fisheries Refugia in the South China Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. As project steering committee members, all national focal points and the national scientific and technical committee attended the meeting. Ms. Isabelle Vanderbeck: the project task manager from UNEP, Mr. Isara Chanrachkij, Head of Project Planning and Management Division from SEAFDEC Training Department, and Mr. Worawit Wanchanna, Policy and Program Coordinator from SEAFDEC Secretariat, also attended the meeting. The meeting updated the progress of national and regional activities, especially on the establishments of the fisheries refugia, legislation/fishery law reform in supporting the management of established fisheries refugia, the adoption of the regional guidelines on indicators for sustainable management of fisheries refugia, and financial and co-financing from partners. The meeting acknowledges the progress report, even though the COVID-19 pandemic impact for more than two years, from 2020 to early 2022, caused the project activities had been delayed in some countries. 

Integration of habitat conservation into fishery management in the South China Sea areas enhanced via the fisheries refugia approach

In the South China Sea area, the integration of habitat and biodiversity conservation into fishery management and practices has been improved through the efforts of concerned communities and governments. This approach is made possible under the Project “Establishment and Operation of a Regional System of Fisheries Refugia in the South China Sea and the Gulf of Thailand,” which received funding support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and was implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). With the main focus of establishing a regional system of fisheries management areas (fisheries refugia) in the South China Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, the project is executed by the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) in partnership with the Fisheries Departments of the riparian countries of South China Sea, namely: Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam. Initially planned for 48 months from January 2017 until December 2020, the Project duration was extended until December 2022 to complete the implementation of the Project activities that had been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation from January 2020 to March 2022.

Nevertheless, as of March 2022, the communities in the fisheries refugia sites of participating countries have been working towards enhancing the integration of habitat and biodiversity conservation into fishery management and practices of the identified aquatic species that the respective countries had identified economically important. The effective management of critical threats to 12 of 14 fisheries refugia sites of about 660,236 ha is expected to be adopted by 2022. It is about 2.5 folds higher than the proposed refugia areas adopted by the GEF. The project results can restore fish stocks and habitats, essential parts of the marine ecosystem, particularly to the SDG 14.2 on sustainably managing and protecting marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts. In addition, the results also support SDG14.4 for effectively regulating harvesting and ending overfishing, illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans to restore fish stocks in the shortest time the SDG14.4.

 

Cambodia

 

Indonesia

 

Malaysia

 

Philippines

 

Thailand

 

Vietnam

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