The UN recently reported through the Convention for Biological Diversity, that commercial fishing in Asia Pacific will be a dead industry by 2050 due to the widespread loss of biodiversity in the coastal ecosystems of the Asia Pacific. While ultimatums like this can be daunting, they can also be a fuel to find a better way.
A potential pathway to ensure that our 2050 is a different destination, is the use of Alternative Livelihoods. Whilst coastal fishing economies does not pose as large a threat to fish populations as commercial fishings, it is a bigger threat to biodiversity. Fishing along Philippine coastlines is, for the vast majority, indiscriminate, with fishermen catching everything regardless of species and regardless of size. Providing alternative livelihoods can remove some of this stress by reforming the local economy from one that relies on fisheries to one that is more diversified.
Many alternative livelihoods have been implemented throughout the world, ranging from jewellery and handicrafts right through to sea cucumber farming and again through to waste reclamation and repurposing. All of these livelihoods have the potential to take one more fishermen out of the water, and into to something that is in the long-term more secure, and sustainable, economically and ecologically.
At MCP we are engaged in measuring the effectiveness of various approaches through trial and error and constant review. The interests here lie in not just improving ecological sustainability, but also community resilience and health, providing opportunities in apiculture and hydroponics to diversify the local economy and provide sources of healthy products as a foundation from which to expand.