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eCDT Project with USAID OCEANS: News and Updates


                       



Partnership with the USAID OCEANS kicks off in 19th National Tuna Congress

In the recently concluded 19th NTC, Mr. Geronimo Silvestre, Chief of Party of the USAID Oceans and Fisheries Partnership, presented THE USAID OCEANS AND FISHERIES PARTNERSHIP: AREGIONAL COOPERATION TO COMBAT ILLEGAL, UNREPORTED AND UNREGULATED FISHING ANDPROMOTE SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES IN THE ASIA – PACIFIC REGION.

Before an audience of more than 500, Silvestre highlighted the USAID OCEANS’ mission to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and seafood fraud, promote sustainable fisheries and conserve marine biodiversity. Aware of the mounting reminders that our oceans are not an “endless” source, the USAID OCEANS aims to achieve sustainable fisheries and conservation of biodiversity through public-private partnership in the implementation of the catch documentation system. It pilots its engagement on the regional level in General Santo City, Philippines and Bitung, Indonesia.
  
In the same venue, UPDATES ON THE USAID OCEANS CDT PROJECT in General Santos City and Indonesia were presented by Mr. Farid Maruf (of the USAID OCEANS Fisheries Partnership) and Mr. Zaldy Perez (of BFAR). Discussed were the current collaboration and work of Oceans with competent authorities and government agencies in Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam as well as partnership work with private sectors and NGOs. Existing initiatives for both large and small scale fisheries were also tackled. Important also was the introduction of how the stakeholders can maximize the use of the Catch Documentation system.
           
Farud’s presentation centered on the technical concept and specifications of fisheries CDT in Southeast Asia. He pointed out the initial step of defining Critical Tracking events of CTEs in order to allow for effective traceability of products throughout the supply chain. He also identified Key Data Elements (KDEs) that need to be captured to enable and/or maintains linkages to traceability. He also underscored lessons from the field and best practices.


                    BFAR launches Electronic Catch Documentation System

In support to the Philippine Government’s efforts to eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, in partnership with USAID OCEANs and SFFAII, launched the Electronic Catch Documentation and Traceability (eCDT) System on September 6, 2017, the first day of the 19th National Tuna Congress (NTC).
With the end objective of its implementation and roll out to the fishing sector, this project is designed to encourage the collection and analysis of ecological and economic data related to seafood products throughout the seafood supply chain, enabling traceability from point of catch to import and end-retail.
In the launching and throughout the Congress, audio visual presentation materials were exhibited and printed materials on the eCDT program were distributed.


                     Social Welfare Issues Take Center Stage in the 19th NTC

There is a need to integrate social welfare components into the program. In the 19th NTC, topics on gender and labor took center stage.

In this topic, Ms. Claudette Urmeneta, the Capability Building Manager, of Verite (Southeast Asia), discussed the results of the assessment of the labor conditions in the program’s learning sites- General Santos City and Bitung, Indonesia.

For the Oceans and Fisheries Partnership, Verite undertook research to describe labor conditions in the tuna sector in General Santos City, Philippines and to note ways on how labor and social concerns could be integrated with the emerging Catch Documentation Traceability System.

            Among the key findings were the following:
           Land-based facilities
     -  90% of recruitment and hiring is brokered by employment agencies, cooperatives              through a formal process;
     -  Almost all are subcontracted or outsourced, employed by agencies or cooperatives that    have direct contracts with the facilities.
   - Formal grievance mechanisms are in place, sometimes with involvement of labor-       management committee or unions in some factories
    - Work is generally standardized, following an 8-5 schedule.
   - Workers are supposed to be paid the minimum wage but many are paid on a target   production output basis,

          Vessel-based
- Documentation in handline fishing is not well-established while workers in purse seine fishing mostly have complete documentation
- Purse seine workers have formal orientation and on-boarding process but accordingly, this is absent in handline fishers
- In handline operations grievances, discipline, decisions regarding pay, conditions are handled by boat operators. In purse seine, disciplinary actions and grievances are handled by or coursed through the vessel captain.
- Work can be continuous or sporadic, depending on location, conditions at sea, availability of the fish
- Prevailing scheme is profit sharing. Some interviewees complain of unreliable wages and benefits.
- Some boats have medical equipment, but safety training is insufficient

In general, copy of work contracts are not provided to workers. Most are of legal age. There are risks of contract substitution, due to lack of standardized information/agreements about actual terms and conditions of job.

Recommendations in the study are related to institutional labor governance, labor data management, and data collection for monitoring labor conditions and issues. It roused reactions of varying kinds and degrees from the participants, among which are the concerns on the statistical method used in the research and the interpretation of the same.


Here, Dr. Marieta Sumagaysay of The National Network on Women in Fisheries in the Philippines, Inc. presented empirical evidence on gender differentials along the tuna value chain and expounded on its significance to the fisheries.

Access to Assets
Fishers have limited information available to fishers to improve fishing; in the processing chain, there is equal access of both sexes to trainings and capacity development and equal access to occupy supervisory positions; female traders have less access to profitable markets.

Knowledge, Beliefs and Perceptions
In fishing, women are discouraged to join fishing trips due to conflict with household roles; there are still beliefs that women have not developed skills and stamina compatible with fishing; cultural beliefs that are unfavorable to women boarding fishing boats still prevail.
Females engaged in the processing of frozen tuna are more knowledgeable about tuna fishery regulations than their male counterparts. However, the reverse is true to those engaged in tuna value added products.  There is no gender differential in canned tuna processing.
In Trading, positive beliefs about women traders may result to entry of more women in trading business and better appreciation of the women’s role in tuna value chain

Practices and Participation
In fishing, men dominate almost all tasks, except for record keeping of finances, making payments, recording catch. There are a few tasks however where women are starting to be visible. Women in municipal fisheries are more aware of fisheries-related projects than their male counterpart
In trading, stereotypes about work prevail.  

Time and Space
In fishing, men seemed to be assuming more reproductive activities.
Women in Tuna Value-Added Products and Frozen Tuna processing spend more hours in reproductive work.

Legal Rights and Status
More than half of fishers groups are aware of some fisheries laws/policies; only purse seine fishers report better conditions (social security coverage, insurance, and protective gear); municipal fishers are least able to avail of legal labor benefits.
In trading, social security and accident insurance for both men and women are notably absent.

Power and Decision- Making
On the fishing side, mothers generally decide on food, budget, and community involvement; both parents decide on education & discipline; husband decides on fishing-operations except in marketing the catch where wife’s participation is recognized.
Both male and female processing workers decide on matters related to children, school, work, family planning and health and membership in organizations.
Male traders decide on work matters but usually turn over earnings to wives who manage the household budget. Female traders decide on matters pertaining to trading operations but consult spouse out of respect to the position of man as head of the household.

Recommendations include collaboration with all stakeholders and the VC players being crucial for purposes of complementation of efforts, as well as to plan for sustainability after any intervention (e.g. Oceans) exits from the learning site; enhance the GAD Code to include CDT/EAFM; identify and engage local gender champions (both men and women); and the results of this gender analysis to serve as a baseline and reference for future monitoring of how fast and how vast has gender mainstreaming and integration happened along the tuna VC.


                     PROJECT INCEPTION

The Project’s Inception Workshop will be held November 6-7, 2017 at the East Asia Royale Hotel, General Santos City. Significantly integrated into the activity is the BFAR’s eCDT System Development Workshop. This aims to gather the stakeholders’ inputs as the workshop aims to revalidate data and consult the stakeholders in the finalization of the eCDT system design and flow and overall development.  
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