Thursday, September 3, 2020

WWF-Philippines Distributes Fortuna Coolers to Bicol Fishers, Provides Livelihood Support for Pandemic

Wazzup Pilipinas!

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines began distributing collapsible coolers designed by Fortuna Cools to fishermen in Lagonoy Gulf, Bicol earlier this month as part of efforts to support sustainable livelihood in the region.

Twenty-two (22) collapsible Fortuna coolers were given to municipal tuna fishermen under WWF-Philippines’ Sustainable Tuna Partnerships program. The conservation organization supports small-scale fishing activities in the country, promoting sustainable practices and lobbying for the rights of artisanal fishermen.

Much value is lost between when small-scale fishermen land a catch, to when they are able to bring it to the market. A lack of useful cooling equipment keeps fishermen from putting their catches on ice. This lack of cooling and exposure to the elements on the way to the marketplace causes catches to lose value, lessening the earnings of fishermen. The collapsible coolers will help expand their earnings by providing a means for fishers to keep their catches chilled.

Fortuna, a cold-chain solutions company that provides sustainable packaging technology for fishing communities across the country, delivered a total of 200 coolers to Bicol in early June.

“At Fortuna we’ve spent the past two years living among communities of fishermen and farmers to learn about their cold-chain needs and co-design affordable solutions. We are very thankful to have partners like WWF to help us expand our reach and get our coolers in the hands of those who need them the most,” says Fortuna Co-founder Tamara Mekler. 50 of the 200 coolers came as direct donations from Fortuna.

The coolers were purchased by the Gulf of Lagonoy Tuna Fishers Federation (GLTFF) Inc., a non-profit organization of small-scale fishers from communities on the shores of Lagonoy Gulf. The GLTFF advocates for good fishery governance in securing and sustaining livelihoods and fishery resources.

Money for the purchase was given through a grant from the Congressional Spouses Foundation, Inc. (CSFI) through the intercession of WWF-Philippines. The CSFI committed to providing livelihood support to the fishers of Lagonoy Gulf through the grant, which was gifted to the GLTFF early last year.

“Fortuna’s collapsible tuna coolers were designed to meet the needs of our small scale tuna handline fishers, who were in need of some sort of ice storage on board their boats to keep their catches cold. These sturdy, budget-friendly coolers will help our fishers grab a better price for their products once they get to the market,” said WWF-Philippines Sustainable Tuna Partnerships Project Manager Joann Binondo. WWF-Philippines is certain that equipping tuna handline fishers with collapsible coolers will ensure the quality of their products and help increase their earnings.

“This is timely given the crisis. Markets are very limited due to restrictions on movement. Our fishers need every peso they can get, and these coolers will help ensure they get what they need to get through the crisis,” added Binondo.

WWF-Philippines will be distributing the remaining coolers over the coming months to fishing communities around Lagonoy Gulf, with plans to source additional Fortuna coolers for communities across the Philippines.

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