The Philippines in Focus
In 2020, we conducted a scoping report that highlighted the need for a collaborative approach to initiate fish welfare work in the Philippines.
In 2022, we tested a multi-sectoral farmer engagement model in Cebu.
The Philippines is a particularly promising country.
We found strong institutional and civil support for fish welfare work—the foundation for improving the lives of millions of fish farmed each year.
The welfare issues are
serious but solvable.
Improper farming practices such as overfeeding and overcrowding are primary causes of high mortality rates.
largest fish farming country in the world in 2018
growth of the fish farming industry between 1980 and 2018
% of mortality rates have been encountered because of preventable diseases.*
*Based on unpublished FWI surveys
Farmer Engagement Project
In January 2022, we launched a 6-month farmer engagement project based on three pillars:
FWI organized two
seminars on Best Welfare Practices in collaboration with an academic institution, government agencies, and a local animal welfare organization.
FWI engaged intensively with farmers in the field to ensure the application of classroom theory—focusing on disease prevention, feeding, record keeping, and cage sanitation.
We hosted a series of forums that empower farmers to address the welfare issues in Carmen Bay, culminating in the formation of the Carmen Fishcage Association, with FWI Philippines' Alex and Ezra as elected officials.
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"The situation in fish cages was not organized, there was no arrangement, no permits to operate. The municipal ordinance and the guidelines in operating was not strictly followed. The most significant impact of FWI unto the fish cages are to help fisherfolks to improve the management practices involved in farming. Most important is to prevent pollution that can affect the well-being of a fish.
Now that the seminar on fish cage operation and management is completed, the Municipal Agricultural Office will require the presentation of a certificate of completion of the seminar for every operator to secure permits for fish cage operation."
- Desiree T. Lopez, Fishery Technician, Municipal Agricultural Office of Carmen Municipality
We potentially improved the lives of 10,000 fish through direct farmer engagement work, and may improve the lives of an additional 100,000 through the enforced implementation of the Municipal Ordinance.
Community level: Through FWI's intervention, the local government is working to enforce the implementation of the Municipal Fisheries Management Ordinance, particularly**:
15-meter spacing between cages
Reduced number of active farms in the bay
1 farmer reducing stocking densities from 150 fish/m³ to 37 fish/m³.
5 farmers began observing their fish during hand-feeding to adjust feeding amount and minimize feed waste that would lead to poorer water quality.
We introduced the practice of record keeping to farmers, 3 of whom have adopted it.
2 farmers agreed to more frequent cage cleaning.
Industry Regulation: Through FWI's intervention, the local government is now requiring fish cage operators to undergo training on best management practices, a policy that was previously unobserved. Farmers who obtained a certificate by attending FWI's seminar on Fishcage Operation and Management are eligible for a fish farming license.
Collaboration: In partnership with the Municipal Agriculture Office of Carmen, Cebu, we presented in an Agri-Fishery Stakeholder Forum attended by over 60 participants.
Cleaner Waters: After discussions with FWI, polluting boat shops committed to properly managing their effluent waste.
**As of this writing, the extent to which the ordinance will be enforced is unclear. An update will be posted in early 2023.
After this 6-month project, FWI is putting our Philippines work on pause due to a lack of sufficient staffing.
We hope to continue our work shortly and explore other approaches to improve the lives of fish in the Philippines.
If you are interested in collaborating with FWI, or have an idea on how to scale fish welfare work there, contact us!
You can help enable fish welfare work. If you are a representative of a school or research institution, government bureau or municipality, business enterprise, fish farm association, or non-profit group, send us an email!
Work With Us
If you're Filipino and interested in working with us to relaunch Fish Welfare Initiative in the Philippines, sign up to our Talent Database!
We'll reach out to you when we are ready to resume our program.
Civil Society Organizations