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Workshop on FA Financial Capacity Enhancement held
Workshop on Fisheries Association (FA) Financial Capacity Enhancement was held in Hue City on 6 August 2009, inviting participants from twenty local Fisheries Associations (FAs), Provincial Fisheries Association (PFA), government officials at commune, district, and provincial levels, and other relevant project and media in the Province. The workshop was organized to discuss existing challenges and opportunities to enhance and diversify the income base of local FAs to improve their financial capacities towards sustainable lagoon co-management.
Since the first local Fisheries Association was established in the Province in 2003, the Province has been experiencing the rapid development of local FAs to the current number of around 40 FAs. This fact is very encouraging given the fact that local fisherfolk is increasingly mobilized under the FAs for sustainable management of lagoon resources, collaborating effectively with local authority for lagoon resource co-management.
The IMOLA-supported FAs have been strengthened so far to the extent that they established their own charters, membership, sub-groups, executive boards, resource management plans, areas of competencies, zoning plans, and others. The FAs have also initiated a series of practical management activities such as conservation of ecologically important areas and self-organized patrolling of lagoon water surface in collaboration of local authorities.
However, as most of the local FAs are relatively new, their financial capacities are still immature, and the funds available for FA operation and lagoon management activities are quite limited. Especially, the weak income source of those FAs, which is currently heavily relying on the collection of membership fees in most cases, should be diversified and enhanced to make these FAs financially sustainable in a long run.
The workshop was conducted in this context to provide and discuss the potential ideas for FA financial capacity enhancement to local FAs as well as to promote support from authorities. The workshop started with the overview of FA financial status in the Province by the PFA and had a series of presentations on different aspects of FA financial capacity enhancement including membership fee system, FA-based economic activities, and use of resource use fee/tax/violation fines. Some local FAs also shared their experience in FA income generating activities such as freshwater fish nursing, chuom installation and management, and use fee collection in sea-grass management areas.
The participants were later divided in groups to discuss and formulate the potential ideas for FA financial capacity enhancement. A series of interesting ideas were presented and shared by local FAs in the lively idea-sharing session. The ideas included food processing and branding, lagoon user fees, credit and savings scheme, brackish water fisher nursery, feed production, wise use of fish aggregtating devices (chuom), lime production, and even the operation of the public hall for renting.
Each FA is expected to come up with the specific plan to enhance FA financial capacity for implementation after the workshop.