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For Applicants | Focus Areas | RDMA Priority Countries / Rapid Assessment of Tuna Fish Stocks
in the South China and Sulu-Sulawesi Seas

Applicant Resources

Eligible Countries:

  • Burma
  • Cambodia
  • Indonesia
  • Laos
  • Malaysia*
  • The Philippines
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

*Malaysian researchers are eligible to participate only as co-PIs, not PIs.

Additional Criteria for Applicants:

Please see Section V of the Solicitation for General Eligibility requirements.


USAID’s Regional Development Mission for Asia (RDMA) and the U.S. Mission to ASEAN (USASEAN) have identified over-harvesting, including illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, as a leading threat to marine biodiversity and sustainable fisheries in Southeast Asia. Overharvesting and IUU fishing are leading to declines in abundance, size, biodiversity, and distribution of economically important marine species such as tuna, grouper, snapper, mackerel, and coral reef fishes. These declining fisheries remain fundamental to the food security and livelihoods of Southeast Asian people. Understanding the state of marine resource availability is necessary for sustainably managing fisheries, thereby protect biodiversity and reverse the decline of local fisheries.

The USAID Oceans and Fisheries Partnership (USAID Oceans) is a regional program designed to protect marine biodiversity in the Asia-Pacific region by combating illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing and by enhancing sustainable fisheries management. To do this, USAID Oceans is first developing and implementing a fisheries catch documentation and traceability (CDT) system that will enable the reporting and tracking of seafood from point of catch to market entry. Use of this geo-located catch data in the updating of fisheries management plans will enable more robust assessments and predictions of fishing impact than are currently possible. Since the USAID Oceans CDT system will be piloted on tuna in both the South China Sea and Sulu-Sulawesi Sea, baseline data on tuna abundance in these areas are needed and are critical for understanding the current state of these particular fisheries resources.

Through PEER, USAID/RDMA will support research projects that generate strong evidence on tuna fish stocks of the South China Sea and/or the Sulu-Sulawesi Sea. Rapid and innovative approaches to fish stock assessment are encouraged, but must also be somehow tested or “ground-truthed.” Applicants should propose robust analytical approaches and should, at a minimum, target the most critical fish stock information gap of abundance.

Regional collaborations among institutions in at least two of the eligible countries are strongly encouraged in order to build a stronger knowledge base and inform decision-making in the region. Proposals should therefore have plans to encourage the uptake of information produced through the PEER activity, particularly through other relevant regional and bilateral USAID activities, such as the Oceans and Fisheries Partnership, and/or existing regional institutions. This research is of high priority for ASEAN members and supports the goals of USAID and USASEAN.