About us

The Regional Fisheries Livelihood Programme for South and Southeast Asia (RFLP) sets out to strengthen capacity among participating small-scale fishing communities and their supporting institutions in Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste and Viet Nam. By doing so the RFLP seeks to improve the livelihoods of fisher folk and their families while fostering more sustainable fisheries resources management practices.

The four-year (2009 – 2013), USD 19.55 million RFLP is funded by the Kingdom of Spain and implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) working in close collaboration with national authorities in participating countries.

Why are small-scale fisheries important?

Although many small-scale fishing communities are poor and vulnerable, it is widely acknowledged that small-scale fisheries can make a meaningful contribution to natural resource management, prove resilient to shocks and crises, and make meaningful contributions to poverty alleviation and food security. They employ over 90 percent of the world’s more than 35 million capture fishers and support another approximatly 90 million people employed in jobs associated with fish processing, distribution and marketing. At least half of the people employed in small-scale fisheries are women.

How many people may RFLP possibly benefit?

There are an estimated 5.6 million small-scale fishers in the countries participating in the RFLP. In addition, millions are employed in other fisheries related jobs such as processing and trading. RFLP will operate in specific areas of participating countries however pilot activities and institutional strengthening will benefit fishers beyond the geographical scope of the programme.

Who are the main beneficiaries?

The primary beneficiaries of RFLP are coastal fishers, processors, traders and their families, their organizations and their communities. In addition, the project will target government organizations and institutions responsible for the administration, management and development of coastal fisheries at local, district/province and national levels.

What we do

Across South and Southeast Asia, the livelihoods of coastal small-scale fishers are among the most insecure and vulnerable. They are dependent on an increasingly depleted and degraded resource, due to overcapacity, resource access conflicts and inadequate resource management.

The rights to the use of the coastal resources,including fisheries, are often unclear and there is mounting competition from a wide range of alternative uses such as tourism.

In response to this need the Regional Fisheries Livelihoods Programme for South and Southeast Asia (RFLP) takes an integrated approach to achieving its goal of improving livelihoods and reducing the vulnerability of small-scale fishing communities in the countries in which it operates.

To achieve this goal, RFLP undertakes activities in six key areas, seeking to create the following:

Co-management mechanisms for sustainable utilization of fishery resources

• Measures to improve safety at sea and reduce vulnerability for fisher communities

Post harvest measures for improved quality of fishery products and market chains

Strengthened and diversified income opportunities for fisher families

• Better access to microfinance services for fishers, processors and vendors

• Increased regional sharing of knowledge in support of livelihood development, reduced vulnerability for fisher communities and sustainable fisheries resource management

In addition to these areas, RFLP also places emphasis on gender, recognizing the important but often unrecognized role women play in fishing communities. Other important areas that may impact coastal communities such as climate change and disaster risk management are also the focus of actions.