APEC Oceans and Fisheries Working Group (OFWG)

Participants of the APEC-OFWG Workshop on Marine Observation and Research Towards Evidence-based Sustainable Ocean Governance visit a research vessel at the Japan National Research Institute of Fisheries Science in Yokohama, Japan on 29 June 2017. [National Ocean Policy Secretariat, Japan]

The APEC Oceans and Fisheries Working Group (OFWG) was formed in 2011, following a decision to merge the former Marine Resource Conservation and Fisheries working groups which had been in operation since 1990 and 1991 respectively.

The lead agency for the OFWG is the Department of Agriculture Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. The DENR-BMB is a supporting agency to DABFAR particularly on issues on marine environment.
Focal Office:
Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB)
Date Launched:
Focal Persons:
Lead Agency: DA-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources
Undersecretary for Fisheries, Department of Agriculture Director, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources
Tel. No. (632) 929 8074, 929 9597

Asst. Director for Technical Services, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Department of Agriculture
Tel. No. (632) 455 9493

Counterpart from DENR-BMB
Tel. No. (632) 924 6031 to 35 local 203 & 204, 925 8948

Chief, Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Management Section, Coastal and Marine Division, DENR-BMB
Tel. No. (632) 924 6031 to 35 local 207, 925 8948
The working group is committed to
- Facilitating trade and investment opportunities that promote the sustainable use of fisheries, aquaculture, and marine ecosystem resources;
- Ensuring the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources as well as protection of marine ecosystems needed to support fisheries and aquaculture; and
- Promoting a common approach to preventing illegal fishing and related trade.
Sources / Relevant Links:
Ocean and Fisheries:


At present, the Philippines has ongoing collaborations or partnerships with different APEC member economies such as:
- Collaboration with UN-FAO on the Promotion on Scaling-up on Innovative Rice-fish Farming and Climate-Resilient Tilapia Pond Culture Practices for Blue Growth in Asia.
- Capacity building on aquaculture, post harvest and marketing as part of RP-China Cooperation on Fisheries
- Collaboration with SEAFDEC/UN/GEF on the project "Establishment and Operation of a Regional System of Fisheries Refugia in the South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand" which aims to improve the integration of fish habitat considerations and fisheries management
- The Oceans and Fisheries Partnership between USAID, SEAFDEC and CTI-CFF on strengthening regional cooperation to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUUF), promote sustainable fisheries and conserve marine biodiversity in the Asia-Pacific region, developing catch documentation and traceability system, and conserving marine biodiversity and promoting sustainability.
- UNDP/GEF Project on Global Sustainable Supply Chains for Marine Commodities which involves Philippine blue swimming crabs and octopus
- USAID-NOAA/BFAR Partnership to provide support for government-to-government scientific and technical exchange and capacity building.

APEC Virtual Working Group (VWG) on Marine Debris

The APEC Virtual Working Group on Marine Debris was formed in 2014 by the Chemical Dialogue in collaboration with the OFWG, co-chaired by the United States (Government) and Philippines (Industry), to promote innovative solutions to the issue of marine debris with a particular focus on innovations in land-based solid waste management to prevent debris from ever entering the ocean. It is estimated that 80 percent of marine debris originates on land with over half the material coming from five rapidly developing Asia-Pacific economies where production and consumption of plastics is outpacing local waste management capacity.

The terms of reference identified six objectives for the VWG as follows: (1) promote plastics recycling; (2) pilot innovative technologies; (3) advance education and information sharing; (4) build on existing public-private partnerships;
(5) share existing and develop new best practices; and (6) create partnerships, including with other regional organizations as appropriate.

Marine debris is now being addressed in multiple fora including: G7, G20, UN High-Level Meeting, World Ocean Summit, and others.

Progress to Date:
The VWG has made significant progress in creating a more enabling environment for waste management infrastructure investment. A subset of the accomplishments is listed below:
1. Pilot projects to design economically sustainable waste management infrastructure. The VWG has supported an initiative to identify pilot cities to demonstrate the feasibility of a range of interventions to address marine litter in APEC cities. The lessons from these projects in the Philippines and Indonesia helped to inform the subsequent landscape analysis and a set of policy and practice recommendations.
2. Addressing definitional challenges. The VWG has contributed to the discussions on facilitating trade and investment in sustainable materials management solutions by evaluating how APEC economies define key terms (household waste, recyclable material, natural resource, biomass etc.) assessing the extent to which these definitions impede trade and investment in Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) solutions, and presenting recommendations on how economies can address trade barriers in this area and provide best policy practice guidance.
3. Developing a body of evidence. The Trash Free Seas Alliance, an alliance uniting industry, science and conservation leaders has developed a body of evidence aimed at quantifying the problem and identifying the highest impact interventions to reduce marine litter in our oceans. Subsequent analysis focused on rapidly developing economies in the Asia Pacific and developed recommendations for improving waste management in regions where ocean plastic inputs are currently largest.
4. High-Level Meeting. The VWG contributed to a high-level meeting in Tokyo to bring together government ministries, multilateral development banks, bilateral aid agencies, private investors, industry brands and resin producers, treatment technology providers and others to build political will and develop an investment coalition to support waste management entrepreneurs.
5. Overcoming financing barriers. The VWG contributed to the development of a set of policy and practice recommendations aimed at overcoming barriers to financing waste management systems and reducing marine litter that were endorsed by APEC Ministers in 2016.
This Page was updated on 16 December 2019 and will be updated on 10 December 2020
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