CLA Drives Innovation for Philippine Fishers Amid Pandemic
When the Philippines first went into COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020, fishers were among those most heavily affected by movement restrictions. Having lost access to their usual markets, they suffered plummeting sales and prices. In South Negros where the USAID Fish Right Program is working, fishers were desperate to sell their produce, even as at-home consumers were craving fresh seafood. Quickly responding to a need outside of its planned scope of support, Fish Right turned to its CLA framework to provide a solution called Fish Tiangge, a Facebook marketplace that enables buyers to purchase fish directly from fishers (‘tiangge’ is Filipino for market). Fish Tiangge was designed simply to connect buyers and sellers in South Negros during the pandemic, but as word about the marketplace spread across the program, a discussion started on integrating it into Fish Right’s main program of work.
Fish Right aims to improve fisheries in three Philippine marine biodiversity areas through science-based management and stakeholder engagement. For an outside-the-box idea born out of the need to adapt to a challenging time, Fish Tiangge turned out to be a good fit for the program, easily aligning with the Fish Right Theory of Change on incentivizing responsible fishing. By the time the product launched in April 2020, a monitoring mechanism was in place to ensure that endangered species could not enter the marketplace. Fish Tiangge has since been replicated in the two other Fish Right sites, potentially connecting 6,000 fishers with more than 300,000 households across all three sites.
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