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THE SOUTH CHINA SEA FISHERIES REFUGIA INITIATIVE

Fig. 1: in the mechanism on establishment and operation of a regional system requires long term appropriated indicators for management of fisheries refugia.

Establishment and operation of a regional system of fisheries refugia in the South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand required a mechanism (Figure 1) to achieve the target objective to “operate and expand the network of fisheries refugia in the South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand for the improved management of fisheries and critical marine habitats linkages. Additionally, to ensure long term management of the fisheries refugia, the appropriated indicator sets as well as the standardized methods for collection and analysis of data and information, for the use in assessing the impacts of fisheries refugia are needed. In response to this, the Project Coordinating Unit (PCU) for the SEAFDEC/UNEP/GEF Project on Fisheries Refugia organized the Regional Meeting on Indicators for Refugia Management during September 9th -11th, 2019, in Pattaya, Chonburi province, Thailand. 17 participants (5 Females and 12 Males) from 6 participating countries namely, Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia, Philippines, Viet Nam, Thailand and PCU staff attended the meeting. Throughout the brainstorming sessions, the meeting could come up the set of indicators for management of fisheries refugia

(more details in website: https://fisheries-refugia.org/regional-meeting-indicators-refugia-2019 )

Fisheries Administration of Cambodia (FiA) hosted the 2nd Meeting of the Regional Scientific and Technical Committee Meeting (RSTC2) at Thansur Sokha Hotel, Kampot Province Cambodia on 21st – 23rd May 2019. This biannual meeting is one of regional activities under the SEAFDEC/UNEP/GEF Project on Establishment and Operation of a Regional System of Fisheries Refugia in the South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand with aims to overseeing the scientific and technical elements of the project; ensuring effective implementation of activities undertaken during project execution; and providing sound scientific and technical advice to the Project Steering Committee. The meeting invited not only the all national scientific and technical focal point but regional experts from various institutions such as IOC/Westpac-SEAGOOS project, Research and Development Division of the Training Department, Chulalongkorn University, as well as our partners from the SEAFDEC Sweden project and SEAFDEC/JTF projects. The highlights of the discussion are the updated national activities on establishment of a Regional system of Fisheries Refugia by 4 Member States namely Cambodia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand during the past years till 1st Quarter of 2019. It is also noted that Viet Nam and Indonesia will start the project implementation from the third quarter of 2019 after signing the Letter of Agreement and revision of the national project activities and workplans for 2019-2020. There are several issues on the Data and Information needs to support the activities were addressed as follows: 

During July 18-19, 2018, A team of the coordination unit for the SEAFDEC/UNEP/GEF Fisheries Refugia Project visited the Fisheries Administration of Cambodia (FiA) under technical support mission. The objective of this mission is aiming to support the responsible agency under the FiA of Cambodia with project technical support matter, existing work plan as well as proposed work planning and budget for 2018-19. The technical topics during the meeting are include; baseline data collection, establishment of fisheries refugia area at 3 pilot sites also the procedure to setup the Site Level Committee.

During February 12-14, 2019, the Project Coordinating Unit (PCU) of the SEAFDEC/UNEP/GEF Project on “Establishment and Operation of a Regional System of Fisheries Refugia in the South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand”, in collaboration with Fisheries Administration (FiA) of Cambodia, conducted a Technical Training on Biological Studies of Short Mackerel (Rastrelliger brachysoma) in the coastal water Cambodia. There were 9 participants attended this training including 3 officers from Fisheries Administration (FiA), Cambodia and 3 fisheries officers from fisheries cantonment of Koh Kong Province, and 1 each of fisheries officer from Preah Sihanouk, Kampot and Kep Province, Cambodia.

The SEAFDEC/UNEP/GEF South China Sea Fisheries Refugia Initiative participated in the 18th Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) annual consultative meeting convened by IOC and LME:LEARN in Paris from 5-8 December. The SEAFDEC initiative contributed to the work of the LME governance and information and data management working groups. The fisheries refugia initiative was also showcased during a governance session dedicated to spatial planning for LME management.

During December 4-5, 2018, The Project Coordinating Unit (PCU) had organized the 1st Annual Meeting of the Regional Project Steering Committee Meeting for the SEAFDEC/UN Environment/GEF Project on Establishment and Operation of a Regional System of Fisheries Refugia in the South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand, which was conducted in Bangkok, Thailand. Many participants attended the meeting included; One (1) Delegate from UNEP, Two (2) regional experts, Two (2) delegates each from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, Three (3) delegates from Indonesia, one (1) delegate from Philippine, and the PCU staffs. 

Given the limited integration of the work of fisheries and environment ministries in Southeast Asia and many other parts of the world, the establishment and operation of the regional system of fisheries refugia provides an opportunity to learn how to integrate fisheries and coastal habitat management. It is anticipated that the experience gained in the South China Sea region through this initiative will be applied in other marine areas where over-fishing and the use of inappropriate fishing gear are significant impediments to more sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources and the use of coastal habitats. To help share best practices and lessons learned a Facebook page for the initiative has been set-up at  https://www.facebook.com/fisheriesrefugia/. Please like our Facebook page to receive regular updates on project progress and innovations.

During September 11-13, 2018, The Project Coordinating Unit (PCU) had organized the Regional Scientific and Technical Committee Meeting for the SEAFDEC/UN Environment/GEF Project on Establishment and Operation of a Regional System of Fisheries Refugia in the South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand, which was conducted in Trat Provinces, Thailand. Many participants attended the meeting included; one representative from each of six participating countries, three regional experts, representatives from the SEAFDEC-SWEDEN project, representatives from Japanese Trust Fund (JTF) project and the PCU staffs. 

Following a lengthy preparation phase, which involved several regional consultations and national workshops, this project was recently endorsed by the GEF’s Chief Executive Officer. As the regional executing entity for the project, SEAFDEC has subsequently signed a Project Cooperation Agreement with UNEP and the project has officially entered its inception phase. SEAFDEC is presently completing a series of inception phase tasks and will convene the Inception Workshop to launch this important regional project in Bangkok, Thailand from 1st to 3rd November 2016 at the Jasmine Executive Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand.

 

Cambodia

 

Indonesia

 

Malaysia

 

Philippines

 

Thailand

 

Vietnam

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