WWF celebrates decade of sustainable fisheries work in PH with book launch

A decade of sustainable fisheries work brings hope to the future of our seas.

A coffee table book commemorating a decade of sustainable fisheries work in the Philippines titled Bangkulis: Tuna Tales from Hook to Cook, was launched by the World Wide Fund for Nature in a virtual event on October 1, 2021. 

Set in the yellowfin tuna fisheries of the Lagonoy Gulf and Mindoro Strait, the book details the fisherfolk’s 10-year journey to environmental sustainability. The book follows small-scale fishers and how they have organized themselves toward protecting and uplifting their livelihoods.

Bangkulis: Tuna Tales from Hook to Cook will be available soon on WWF-Philippines website.

In 2011, WWF began working with handline yellowfin tuna fishers in Lagonoy Gulf and Mindoro Strait. A Fisheries Improvement Project was launched – a multi-stakeholder program that aims for the environmental sustainability of fisheries.

A little over a decade of work has brought many wins for these fisheries, both in terms of the management of yellowfin tuna stocks and the empowerment of the handline fishers themselves. 

Bangkulis: Tuna Tales from Hook to Cook presents these wins, and the effort that went into achieving them.

A fisherman reels in his handline after a night out on the Lagonoy Gulf. There is still much work to be done before the yellowfin tuna fisheries of the Lagonoy Gulf and Mindoro Strait can claim to be environmentally sustainable, but the fishers themselves are committed to seeing it through. Photograph © Alo Lantin / WWF-Philippines

“Our partner fishers are at the center of this story. They are the local leaders trying to safeguard the seas they rely on, and we have had the pleasure of watching them come together, empowered, constantly learning, so that they may better take care of their fisheries,” shared WWF-Philippines Project Manager Joann Binondo.

Bangkulis: Tuna Tales from Hook to Cook presents big milestones as handline fishers from Bicol and Mindoro push for environmental sustainability for their fisheries. The book also discusses the local tuna industry, while giving quick glimpses at life in the country’s coastal communities. Photograph © WWF-Philippines

Binondo also reminds that these yellowfin tuna fisheries have a long way to go before they can claim to be environmentally sustainable. Despite this, the fishers remain committed to improving upon their practices and exploring better ways to safeguard their seas. “A decade of hard work has gone into improving our fisheries. It has been difficult, but we have seen what this can mean for us – a sense of stability, for those of us whose lives depend on fishing,” shared Atenogenes Reaso, a fisher and chairman of the Gulf of Lagonoy Tuna Fishers Federation, Inc.

A man carries a yellowfin tuna to shore. WWF-Philippines’ Sustainable Tuna Partnerships program worked closely with handline tuna fishers, helping them organize and develop their livelihoods towards being more environmentally sustainable. Photograph © Gregg Yan / WWF-Philippines
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