ASEAN Regional Workshop for Enhancement of National Support Officer System to Improvement of Autonomous Resources Management and Fisheries Communities

Date: 11-13 March 2014
Venue: Vientiane, Lao PDR

1. Review each country’s activities and legal framework for facilitating community-based resource management with fishing right system.
2. Identify the key factor for successful implementation through case study developed by community-based management.
3. Find out further ways to promote establishing applicable community-based resources management in each country

Conclusion of the Workshop
The ASEAN Regional Workshop for Enhancement of National Support Officer System to Improvement of Autonomous Resources Management and Fisheries Communities was organized on 11-13 March 2014 in Vientiane, Lao PDR. The conduct of this Workshop was supported by the ASEAN Foundation and Japanese Trust Fund. The Workshop was participated by the representatives from the ASEAN-SEAFDEC Member Countries (except Myanmar and Singapore), Executive Director and officers of the ASEAN Foundation, SEAFDEC Secretary-General, Deputy Secretary-General and officials of SEAFDEC Secretariat and Training Department, representative from the Mekong River Commission (MRC), and experts relevant to national support officer system.

The Workshop was began by Mr. Bounthong Saphakdy, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Livestock and Fisheries, welcomed all participants to the Workshop. After that, H.E. Mme Elaine Tan, Executive Director of ASEAN Foundation, expressed the gratitude for the conduct of this Workshop, following by Dr. Chumnarn Pongsri, Secretary-General of SEAFDEC, once again welcomed all participants to the Workshop. Then, H.E. Dr. Phouangparisak Pravongviengkham, Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Forestry of Lao PDR, expressed his gratefulness for the conduct of this Workshop and declared the Workshop Open.

Next session was Dr. Yasuhisa Kato gave a Keynote Speech on “Importance of Support Officer System for Improvement of Community-based Resources Management and Other Activities of Fisheries Community. Then, Mr. Sommano Phounsavath, Acting Director of the Division of Fisheries, Department of Livestock and Fisheries, presented the Background and Introduction of the Workshop. After finished this session, the Member Countries presented their overview of country's support officer system and activities for improvement of community-based resources management and other activities of fisheries community.

In addition, Dr. Yuttana Theparoonrat from SEAFDEC made presentation on “SEAFDEC Support Activities to Member Countries for Improvement Support Officer System and Activities”. The on-going projects/activities of SEAFDEC were also presented, e.g. particularly the training of the trainers (TOT) conducted in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Philippines, and Vietnam, aiming to enhance the capacity of fisheries officers and trainers of these countries on fisheries management and co-management, information gathering through community-based fisheries management (CBFM), as well as other subjects as required by countries, so that these trainers could further conduct mobile on-site trainings (MOT) in their respective countries.

Furthermore, there were presentation from invited experts namely, 1) Mr. Hidenao Watanabe, 2) Dr. Tsutomu Miyata, 3) Mr. Shoichiro Okada, and 4) Mr. Sanchai Tandavanitj. The presentation were 1) Support Officer System and Experience in Japan, 2) Effectiveness and Efficiency of Support Officer System for Facilitation of Autonomous Resources Management by Fisher Group and Case Study in Japan, 3) Experience of Support Officer System in Japan, 4) Support Activities by Government for Fisheries Communities in ASEAN, respectively.

Moreover, the Workshop also identified the key factors for effective Support Officer System, as follows:

A) Establishment of System for Fishery Support Service

              Roles of National Government
·         Recognize the importance of support officer system, and have strong will to establish the system
·         Set up of appropriate scheme for the implementation of fisheries support system
·         Develop national guidelines and strategies for fisheries support system, in close collaboration with local government and local officers
·         Allocate sufficient fund and human resources to local government
·         Provide national training courses to support officers to improve their knowledge and skill
·         Establish/strengthen relevant local institutions in close collaboration with local government and community

              Roles of Local Government
·         Develop local guideline that consistence with national guideline, and fit with the requirements of local community
·         Develop strategies and plans of fisheries support system.
·         In the case where budget allocation and number of support officers are inadequate, the strategies and plan should target the areas where CBFM is likely to be success.
·         Set-up support officer team and ensure their mutual understanding on strategies and plans of support system.
·         Provide training for support officer to fit with local requirement.

 B) Implementation of Fishery Support Service at Communities

               Roles of Government
·         Assign clear responsible areas to each support officer
·         Provide necessary inputs, i.e. funds, equipment, etc., to facilitate the implementation of support services
·         Provide training, and facilitate activities for community members/fishers
·         Provide updated information on status of fishery resources as a basis for support officer services

               Roles of Support Officer (Extension Officer)
·         Explore potential leaders and establish close relationship with the community
·         Conduct regular visit to community to discuss their required support
·         Take leading role during early stage of establishment of fisheries community management organization
·         Provide support based on the requirement of specific fisheries community

In addition, The Member Countries identified the difficulties and problems, and way forward for the promotion of Support Officer System for effective CBFM in their respective countries. Taking into consideration the difficulties and problems faced by the respective Member Countries, the common areas that should be considered by the respective countries in establishment/ promotion of Support Officer System to ensure effective implementation of CBFM could be summarized as follows:

- Ensuring the availability of legal framework, policies, strategies and working mechanism to facilitate the establishment and implementation of the Support Officer System.
- Strengthening of local organizations to take leading roles in fisheries/resources management.
- Establishment of Support Officer System at local level to be familiarized with local communities and obtain information on specific requirement of specific communities.
- Allocation of sufficient financial and human resources required for Support Officer System.
- Enhancing capacity of Support Officers, on technical subjects and managerial/communication skills, in order to be able to extend support to local communities.
- Undertaking activities (by Support Officers in close cooperation/collaboration with relevant governmental agencies, local organizations and stakeholders):
   *   Awareness raising: on relevant legal frameworks, conservation and management concepts, etc.
 * Training: on data collection/analysis, implementation of fisheries management and resources conservation/enhancement, financial management, alternative livelihood, etc.

To enhance future promotion of CBFM by the respective Member Countries, the Workshop encouraged SEAFDEC to continue supporting the initiatives, particularly in developing success model(s) for both coastal and inland ecosystems, in order that this could be replicated/expanded in other areas/countries. SEAFDEC was also requested to consider undertaking analysis of Support Officer System (or systems with similar nature) of the Member Countries, and come up with recommendations that countries could refer to in the development/promotion of their respective Support Officer System.