Under the SEAFDEC Program Framework endorsed by the SEAFDEC Council at its 41st Meeting in 2009, SEAFDEC was mandated “To develop and manage the fisheries potential of the region by rational utilization of the resources for providing food security and safety to the people and alleviating poverty through transfer of new technologies, research and information dissemination activities”. The Program Framework comprises the following major thrusts.
- Developing and promoting responsible fisheries for poverty alleviation and food security
The growing domestic and international demand for fish and fish products has resulted in the excessive exploitation of the aquatic resources in the region. In this context, the projects under this thrust would provide ways to ensure the sustainability of fisheries resources. This thrust involves research and development in relevant technologies and best practices, as well as capacity building for efficient and sustainable use, management and development in capture fisheries, aquaculture and post-harvest. The activities would also cover post-harvest practices, aquaculture, responsible fishing technologies and practices to achieve effective and sustainable use of fisheries resources in the Southeast Asian region.
- Enhancing capacity and competitiveness to facilitate international and intra-regional trade
ASEAN is currently promoting the “Roadmap to Fisheries Integration”. The efforts of the ASEAN Member States to systematize the flow of capital and goods among the ASEAN region in the fishery sectors would contribute to the reduction of poverty and inequality, particularly through sustainable management and development of fisheries in the region. This component aims to assist the Member Countries in enhancing capacity and competitiveness to facilitate international and intra-regional fish trade through consultations, demonstration and dissemination of techniques, testing methods, standards and/or other relevant approaches and systems, etc.
- Improving management concepts and approaches for sustainable fisheries
The establishment of appropriate management mechanisms is vital to ensure stable fish supply and achieving long-term food security in the region. Currently, policies, legal and institutional or regulatory frameworks established by the member countries focus on fisheries management that are generally based on increased concerns about decreasing fish stocks and/or overexploited fish stocks. Thus, there is a need to enhance national fisheries management frameworks through the incorporation of various requirements for sustainable fisheries development in the region. This thrust highlights the need for innovative management for sustainable fisheries to improve, develop and promote appropriate approaches for fisheries management in particular for fishing communities and rural aquaculture.
- Providing policy and advisory services for planning and executing management of fisheries
This thrust supports the Member Countries by providing recommendations for regional policy and advisory services, especially in the areas of long term planning for management and development of fisheries. This would be done through the promotion of process and information dissemination of appropriate best practices developed. To facilitate better planning and implementing management of fisheries, the program activities under this thrust would cover improvement of fisheries statistics through capacity building of both human resources and statistical institutions, and the promotion of unified statistical systems to facilitate data and information sharing among Member Countries and other regional and international fisheries agencies.
- Addressing international fisheries related issues from a regional perspective
The growing global economic integration and liberalization, trade regulation/ deregulation, impact of climate change, globalization of information systems, etc., inevitably affect fisheries in Southeast Asia. These result in both positive and negative impact on food security, well-being of fisheries communities, poverty alleviation, equity within countries and between developing and developed countries, and others. The effects on the socio-economic aspects of fisheries in the region may not always be managed from within the sector or even at the national level. Regional collaboration is necessary to address these issues. Thus, this thrust is developed with the aim of generalizing the regionally common/coordinated approaches by providing a platform for Member Countries and other relevant organizations to discuss important international related issues and recommend necessary actions that could be adopted regionally and sub-regionally.