Patchareeboon (Mam) Sakulpitakphon spent the past two years working for RTI International as the Private Sector Engagement Specialist on the USAID Sustainable Fish Asia Local Capacity Development (SUFIA LCD) Activity. SUFIA LCD’s primary goal was to strengthen operational and technical capacity development of two regional fisheries organizations: the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) and The Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries, and Food Security (CTI-CFF).
As the Activity draws to a close this month, Mark Granius, a governance specialist at RTI and a technical advisor on SUFIA LCD, sat down with Mam to discuss how private sector engagement (PSE) can support ecosystems approach to fisheries management (EAFM) as an established good practice in sustainable fisheries management.
How did SEAFDEC and CTI-CFF want to work with the private sector to improve regional sustainable fisheries management?
Our partners were most interested in PSE activities to combat illegal fishing, promote more sustainable fishing practices, strengthen the viability of small-scale fisheries, and protect marine biodiversity. PSE was a new approach for both organizations. They had worked with the private sector in the past through their government or strategic partners but not directly to reach these goals.
A key approach advocated and prioritized by both partners is the ecosystems approach to fisheries management (EAFM). Can you tell us more about this EAFM approach?
I admit that before working on the SUFIA LCD Activity I did not know anything about EAFM. I learned about this approach through SEAFDEC and CTI-CFF. EAFM is an integrated management approach across coastal and marine areas and their natural resources that promotes conservation and sustainable use of the whole ecosystem. While many of the coastal and marine areas are predominantly dependent on fishing, EAFM encourages these communities to diversify their economy and prioritize conservation and at the same time incorporate an “ecosystem” approach to local economic development and governance efforts.