Name: Benjie Catudio
Country: Phillippines
Location: Port Lamon, Hinatuan

Benjie Catudio is a resident of Port Lamon, Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur. He joined the ‘Peoples Unite for Genuine and Active Port Lamon, Inc.’ (PUGAPO) fishers organization several years ago to help protect the degraded coastal and marine environment of his municipality. He considers the sea as his partner in addressing the economic needs of his family. He actively advocates the importance of resource conservation and protection and is a member of the Local Resource Monitoring Team that is CERD’s partner in conducting resource ecological assessments. Seeing his interest and commitment, CERD, a national NGO and PLMMA partner, selected him to attend a scuba diving course. Benjie got his license to scuba dive and began taking part in the annual biophysical monitoring activities in Hinatuan.
Benjie joined several PhiLMMA Network activities since he was trained in socioeconomic monitoring in 2006, representing his organization and its local resource monitoring team. Skilled in facilitating and conducting biophysical monitoring, he also participated in gathering socioeconomic data through Focus Group Discussions, Household Surveys and Key Informant Interviews. In 2007, Benjie volunteered to train community monitors in the Fish Visual Census, one of the methods commonly used for resource ecological assessment.

Gaining the respect of his co-members, he was assigned as part-time caretaker of the milkfish cage/pen operation. He also holds the auditor position in PUGAPO as well as the fish catch monitoring committee chair in the municipal level fishers federation.

All his efforts in actively participating in every organizational activity were rewarded when he was selected as a hatchery trainee in CERD’s newly established multi-species hatchery project in Hinatuan. Though busy in the hatchery facility, he still maintains active participation in resource monitoring.

Benjie plans to influence the youth in his community to engage actively in protecting their marine resources, including corals, seagrasses, mangroves, dugongs (sea cow) and other marine creatures in Hinatuan Bay through sharing his skills and experiences. Benjie’s aspiration is to see a healthy Hinatuan Bay so that his nephews and nieces will still be able to enjoy it. He always says, “We should always protect our seas, as this is what our lives depend on. Without it, we are nothing.”

Photo: Benjie, as one of the hatchery trainees, checking the condition of newly hatched prawn nauplii. Photo by CERD