An Intern’s Perspective: An Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management in Southeast Asia
Tetra Tech’s Sabrina Daley, International Development Services intern, is writing a series of blog posts about learning from women at Tetra Tech who are leading significant international development projects. In this post, she introduces our Dr. Gina Green, project manager for the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Ecosystems Improved for Sustainable Harvest (ECOFISH), Sustainable Ecosystem Approach (SEA), and OCEANs Partnership projects. All opinions expressed in this post are the author’s own.
Tetra Tech has been implementing marine, coastal, and biodiversity programs in the Philippines for the past 20 years. Our Dr. Gina Green has played an integral role in many of these programs. She is a biodiversity, climate change, conservation, and agricultural specialist with more than 25 years of experience designing, implementing, and evaluating initiatives to protect and manage natural resources in North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and the Pacific. Her work helps build bridges between the public and private sectors with integrated and innovative approaches, such as promoting the development of environmental trust funds and public-private partnerships that support environmental stewardship.
Gina managed Tetra Tech’s most recent project, the USAID ECOFISH project, a five-year technical assistance program that aimed to improve the management of coastal resources to support local economies in eight key marine biodiversity areas in the Philippines. Using an ecosystems approach to fisheries management (EAFM), ECOFISH worked to conserve biodiversity, improve ecosystem productivity, and reestablish profitable fisheries within these regions of the Philippines. ECOFISH, which built on the success of the previous USAID fisheries projects, focused on the health and functionality of both ocean and human systems. It also worked to bring private sector partnerships to the forefront of the project.
Tetra Tech’s work on ECOFISH led to the award of the OCEANS program, which focused supporting the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Coral Triangle member countries in using EAFM and preventing illegal fishing. Gina leads Tetra Tech’s work through OCEANS to establish a traceability system by enhancing catch documentation to ensure the tracking of fish catches across international waters to eliminate illegal fishing practices.
Tetra Tech’s work on projects like ECOFISH, OCEANS, and SEAS is crucial to the maintenance and security of coastal ecosystems and communities. The 10 ASEAN countries collectively account for a quarter of global fisheries production, with the Philippines and Indonesia being in the top 10 of world fish producers. Tetra Tech’s work in these regions allows for the expansion of fisheries in sustainable and profitable ways that alleviate poverty and provide food security globally.
Gina’s advice to development professionals based on her years of experience is to “be a good listener—you need to understand where changes need to take place, and you need to empower those who need to be empowered to get things done to meet the needs of the clients.”
“As a leader you have to be a coach, a teacher, as well as an implementer," said Gina. "There is always a glass ceiling or a concern that gender would potentially impact your opportunities, but it is about being competent in your field and being able to communicate with your team to perform the task you have been asked to do.”
Gina says her main objective is to provide opportunities to people who are motivated, capable, and not only want to do more but have the talent and skill to do so. She hopes that by passing on her core values and professionalism to other women in the field she will help them to rise to higher and more influential positions in the future.