14 May 2012

Coral triangle countries urged to consult with fishers

10:16 am on 14 May 2012

The nations that comprise the Coral Triangle have asked the Asian Development Bank to allocate 136 million US dollars to protect and preserve the centre of marine biodiversity.

The Coral Triangle is made up of Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Phillipines.

The nations want to use the money to promote sustainable fishing, establish a marine database and implement a national coastal and marine management programme.

But the plan is being opposed by fisheries groups, who say the Coral Triangle Initiative has too much of a top-heavy approach.

A Project Officer at Southeast Asia Fish for Justice, Rizalito Lopez, says there has not been any meaningful consultation with the small and community based fishers - and there needs to be.

"We want fisher-folks rights to be respected and a community based coastal resource management approach which is based on capacity of fisher-folks and local governments to establish protected areas in consultation with out fishers."

Rizalito Lopez says while fishermen can sometimes be part of the problem, they are also part of the solution, and without consulting them the problem cannot be properly addressed.