|dc.description.abstract||USAID’s ECOFISH II enhances community resilience through improving the savings, livelihoods and coping strategies of host fishing communities in the USAID Zone of Resilience (ZOR) and marginalized and extremely poor fisher folks in the MRE and Nijhum Dwip MPA areas. This 2nd quarterly progress report describes the accomplishments and achievements of ECOFISH II during April-June 2020 in all the ToOs. Activities in ZOR have been implemented with the key partnerships of Shushilan, Chattogram Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (CVASU) and Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST). In addition, Falcon International Ltd has been working closely with the project to develop and expand seaweed farming and market linkages for fishers’ livelihood improvement. In the MRE, Noakhali Science and Technology University (NSTU) and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University (BSMRAU) are associated with the implementation. In the Nijhum Dwip MPA areas, IUCN has been working along with the project personnel. All of the partner’s sub-projects, their objectives/activities and brief progress are summarized in section 10 (Table 5). Detailed findings of each partner are described as per Intermediate Results (IRs-1 &2) and their Sub-IRs.
Activities on ecosystem health management, coastal biodiversity conservation and monitoring of coastal fisheries dynamics are in progress under the first sub-IR1 (Improved science outputs for decision-making). Four universities (BSMRAU, CVASU, NSTU, SUST) are playing important roles to achieving the science outputs under SUB-IR-1. BSMRAU has developed an ecosystem model for understanding the ecosystem health of the Meghna River estuary and Marine Protected Area (Nijhum Dwip MPA). NSTU as well as ECOFISH team have conducted several awareness building activities on catfish conservation throughout the ToO and distributed thousands of colorful leaflets bearing various Pangas conservation messages among the stakeholders. SUST assessed the biodiversity status, analyzed the environmental condition, and identified important habitats of fin fishes, megafauna, mollusks and planktons. SUST also collected the fishing information and bio-physicochemical and social characteristics in the Saint Martin–Teknaf peninsula.
Falcon International and CVASU have assisted ECOFISH II team and beneficiaries for farming seaweed and green mussels in ZOR. Despite the impact of the cyclone Amphan, 403 kg raw seaweed has been harvested during the reporting quarter from four farming sites in ZOR from which beneficiaries have earned BDT 62,450 (@BDT 150/kg). Seaweed market linkages have been established by Falcon International Ltd.
Project team monitored fish species compositions in the Cox’s Bazar, BFDC fish landing centers. Twenty Citizen Scientists (boat fishers) and 5 landing center facilitators were trained and equipped with Smart phone and ODK Apps in Bangla for real time fish-catch and landing monitoring, respectively. The gaps in the existing facilities in the fish landing centers along the Cox’s Bazar-Teknaf coasts and scope of improvements, actor’s involvement, business transactions, and anticipated benefit, if modern facilities are in place at those landing centers were analyzed and documented through expert assessment. The project deployed another expert to update the possibility of including/excluding new areas in the existing hilsa sanctuaries, and consideration for few new sanctuaries in the remaining large river systems in the South.
Formation and strengthen co-management institutions, strengthen Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) and improve fisheries governance have been initiated under the second Sub-IR1 (improved adaptive co-management and fisheries governance) in ZOR and MRE regions. IUCN is developing marine special planning (MSP) and SMART patrolling guideline in the MPA.
Under the IR2 (improve equity and resilience of food, nutrition and livelihood benefits), ECOFISH team along with Shushilan, provided AIGA support to improve the livelihood resilience of coastal fishing communities in ZOR area. Two NGO partners- Shushilan and IUCN have been working on livelihood improvement of 3,000 fishers’ households (hhs). Shushilan has enlisted 1,165 hhs and finalized 559 hhs for livelihood inputs support in ZOR as alternative income generating activity (AIGA). In the reporting quarter, 178 hhs received livelihood inputs mostly on goat, poultry, duck rearing, fish business, agriculture support and grocery business. IUCN has finalized 200 fishers hhs in the Nijhum Dwip MPA and 606 more hhs are preliminary listed in the Char Montaz and Char Kukrimukri of the Nijhum Dwip MPA.
To improve the fisher women’s access to finance, monitoring of CSG activities established by ECOFISH has been continued that generated BDT 305K ($3,631) savings and disbursed soft-loans to 117 women members amounting BDT 5,000-15,000/member, mostly for goat rearing and grocery business.
As communication tools, project produced awareness building leaflets on conservation of riverine catfish, Pangas and developed many Facebook contents. Project also celebrated Earth Day 2020 and World Ocean Day 2020 and the details of the celebrations are published in many daily newspapers (both Bengali and English). The project has been incorporating USAID’s feedback and comments to finalize Gender Strategy and MEL plan. Environmental Mitigation and Monitoring Plan (EMMP) has already been approved by USAID.||en_US