Meet Atty. Rose Eliza-Eisma-Osorio, Newton Fund Institutional Links Grant awardee.

Research topic: Marine spatial planning of aquaculture facilities in the Philippines: protecting biodiversity whilst maximising economic returns for local communities

Host institution / UK university: Centre for Environment Fisheries & Aquaculture Science

Home institution: University of Cebu

What is your proposed research topic/title of your collaboration?

The fast-growing aquaculture sector in the Philippines helps improve the socio-economic status of coastal communities by diversifying livelihood sources and improving food security. But it presents risks or adverse impacts on sensitive marine habitats. This Institutional Links collaboration is an opportunity for University of Cebu and CEFAS-UK to improve understanding by collecting and interpreting robust data to recommend measures to optimise productivity of aquaculture and limit potential effects on sensitive habitats. 

What is the relevance of your research to the Philippines’ economic development and/or social welfare?

The Institutional Links collaboration between UC and CEFAS-UK seeks a deeper understanding of the current environmental and economic situation in the selected area. This can lead to improving cooperation between stakeholders to solve pressing multi-faceted problem. Through the collaboration, sharing of scientific and integrated planning expertise will enable the people, especially in the identified local area, to attain systematic beneficial effect to all stakeholders. The project is about collating data combinations on existing aquaculture facilities. It is also undertaking capacity building to increase participation by the stakeholders in the local community, whose livelihood and well-being depend primarily on aquatic life and resources. These, along with active local stakeholder involvement, will facilitate the long-term sustainability of aquaculture production and integration with other activities in the area, leading to economic (e.g. income, employment, local cooperation) and social (e.g. food for local consumption) benefits. 

How will your UK collaboration contribute to your home institution’s research goals?

The collaboration enhanced the capacity of the UC researchers led by Atty. Rose-Liza Eisma-Osorio in the transfer of expertise and knowledge in socio-economic and environmental research on aquaculture. CEFAS has a long and excellent track record in studies to identify suitable locations for development of a sustainable seaweed farming industry in the UK.  On the other hand, UC researchers' strengths include understanding and operating in the local legislative framework, understanding the scientific needs for local policy makers, cultural and social aspects of running a project in the country. Through a healthy, working collaboration, the outcomes of the project will assist in informed decision making, especially on sustainable management of local marine resources. Discussions on how to continue collaboration have been done by exploring UK Government funding opportunities such as Darwin main project applications.  

What about the UK influenced your decision to collaborate with your partner institution?

The UK Government, in developing a network of marine protected areas around the UK, sets high standards of ethics and research integrity through institutions like CEFAS and others whose experience in marine environmental research is well-established. Institutions within UK like CEFAS have significant and broad-based project management experience as well. Aside from the present, future collaborations are possible to sustain the present cooperation because of the availability of other UK government funding opportunities. These can provide the means to take forward the gains of this project to future endeavours in order to achieve long-term benefits for coastal communities in the Philippines.