Over four million Filipinos engaged in fishing are expected to benefit from a United Kingdom-funded project with a grant of 5.5 UK pound (around P393 million). The project targets Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in Philippine waters to stop the decline of the fisheries sector. It is officially called Janus TCD, Stourbridge: Improved Situational Awareness in Fisheries (ISAIF).
To achieve its goal, the British Embassy Manila said the project “will use a wide variety of data sources, including satellite data to understand the location, time and behavior of specific vessels at sea.” Combining the data with a satellite navigation application with built-in authentication tool will enable fisherfolks to confirm the vessels’ compliance. As result a new digital barrier is created against fishermen practicing destructive fishing.
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“Outcomes will include better monitoring and enforcement of IUU by the Philippine government, improved safety, security and economic productivity for Philippine fisherfolks, benefits to the Philippine economy, and an improvement in the international reputation of Philippine fisheries,” the embassy statement said.
Ambassador Daniel Pruce, the British Queen’s top diplomat in the Philippines, cited the importance of the ISAIF project.
He said the United Kingdom takes pride in working with the government of the Philippines in finding solutions to various pressing development issues relating to food security, environmental resilience and public health, as well as many others.
“I am pleased to see this ISAIF project being implemented in the Philippines where innovative technology can advance efforts in protecting the country’s fisheries sector against destructive practices, preserving the livelihood and welfare of Filipino fisherfolks,” he said.
Pruce said the two countries’ combined strengths prepare them to fight “shared challenges with the promise of helping the most vulnerable communities.” The IUU project is part of the embassy’s announcement about UK space companies’ initiatives addressing global challenges.
British Science Minister Sam Gyimah identified two of the goals — improved disaster response and tropical disease control — of 10 new projects in Commonwealth states through British space organizations. Leading the 38 million pound (about P2.7 billion) projects are from UK’s growing space sector, from large companies such as Inmarsat and CGI, to startups such as Guildford-based Earth-i.
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The partnership between the UK Space Agency and the space industry seeks to expand the British global space market to 10 percent by 2020. Gyimah noted the upward trajectory of the UK space sector, saying it is “going from strength to strength” and “pioneers new technology and provides jobs for 40,000.”
“Today, I can announce that the space sector’s capabilities are being put to use to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges,” he pointed out. “The UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP) will help developing countries tackle big issues like disaster relief and disaster control, while showcasing the services and technology on offer from our leading space.businesses.”
It can be noted that the IPP is part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), which is worth 1.5 billion pound coming from the UK government in support of cutting-edge research and innovation on global issues affecting developing countries. Of the 22 existing IPP projects whose benefits are already being felt, one of them is a partnership between Inmarsat and the Phiilippine government aimed at reducing the impact of natural disasters leveraging satellite communications.
The partnership was called upon when disasters struck parts of the country in December 2016 and January 2017 caused by tropical storms that killed hundreds of people and made “bakwits” (refugees) of tens of thousands affected residents.
Both times British technology and expertise came into play and enabled relief workers get information in and out of disaster zones, thereby, raising the effectiveness of the disaster response effort, helping them save lives and restore critical infrastructure.
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Rupert Pearce, the CEO of Inmarsat, welcomed the transition from the sea to land of the company’s important role in saving lives. “Inmarsat was originally founded to save lives at sea and we are proud that, almost 40 years later, our robust, reliable satellite communication services are deployed throughout the world too assist following natural disasters and humanitarian crises, wherever the occur,” said Inmarsat CEO Rupert Pearce.
He lauded his company’s partnership with the UK Space Agency.