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Facing a pandemic and climate change in the Philippines

February 26, 2021

Filipino fishing communities find ways to protect their livelihoods against COVID-19 and climate change.

A fisherman on a boat in the water
Image: Dhang de Castro/DW

Philippines: Climate change and fishing

Colin Seranina has been a fisherman for 25 years. The waters around Pilar on the Philippine island of Ponson once provided enough fish to feed his family of four kids with some extra to sell at the market.

But the island is particularly susceptible to the changing climate, and the fisherfolk now often go home empty-handed after a day out on the sea.

Times have become even harder since the coronavirus pandemic struck, because the large fish markets are closed. Instead, Seranina and other fisherfolk sell their leftover catch to their neighbors for a lot less money than they'd receive at the market.

Communities like those in Pilar work with conservation NGO Rare to make sure they have food security into the future. They've established coastal protection areas to allow fish populations to recover and have set up savings clubs so fishing families have some cash to fall back on.

Project goal: Protecting coastal regions and creating sustainable fisheries to secure food and livelihoods in Micronesia, Indonesia, Marshall Islands, Palau, Philippines. In 2020, additional coronavirus response measures were implemented to ensure communities have enough to eat

Budget: Germany's Environment Ministry provides nearly €6 million ($7.2 million) within the framework of its International Climate Initiative (IKI) for the "Fishing for Climate Resilience" project

Project partner: Conservation NGO Rare, which is building on existing community initiatives in some coastal regions

Project duration: September 2018 – December 2022

A film by Joachim Eggers and Dhang de Castro

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