\n<img src="http:\/\/www5.gmanews.tv\/webpics\/articles\/2007\/07\/07202007_m3.jpg" align="left" hspace="5">To the delight of the world\u2019s environmentalists, the days of cyanide and dynamite fishing and similar harmful methods are fast disappearing. One reason is that exporters and traders who have taken a keen interest in the marine industry are also becoming environmentally-conscious. They also have the technology to determine how a particular fish was taken, in what quantity, and possibly \u2013 in areas where there are still young fry \u2013 which of these can safely grow and repopulate in its natural habitat.<br rn\/><br rn\/>The ones actively involved in the aquarium industry are particularly concerned. One such non-profit organization in the Philippines is the Marine Aquarium Council (MAC). It employs a state-of-the-art tracking system, courtesy of Microsoft, to monitor the quality of fishing and trading \u2013 from the time a clownfish is caught up to the time it is packaged, handled, and shipped to third parties in the United States or United Kingdom.<br rn\/><br rn\/>Aside from its Philippine branch, MAC also has offices in Europe, Indonesia, and the Fiji Islands. Its main headquarters is based in Honolulu, Hawaii.<br rn\/><br rn\/><img src="http:\/\/www5.gmanews.tv\/webpics\/articles\/2007\/07\/07202007_m1.jpg" align="right" hspace="5">The \u201cpreservation and traceability program" \u2013 aka Tracking Nemo \u2013 that MAC employs is one benefit of Microsoft\u2019s Software Grants Program, which provides software to non-profit, non-stock, non-government organizations. Microsoft actively partners with these organizations, their members and communities and provides them technological access to enable them to thrive and compete in the \u201cknowledge economy" of the 21st century.<br rn\/><br rn\/>Michael Ocana, IT Manager of MAC\u2019s Philippine branch, narrated how the group\u2019s Tracking Nemo program has helped professionalize the industry. <br rn\/><br rn\/>Ocana explained: \u201cMAC has certain guidelines and standards when it comes to fishing. It helps ensure that the fishermen live up to these standards and, in the process, protect their own means of livelihood. Monitoring is increased. We can immediately track down the number and kinds of the fish that were caught. We can tell if they were taken from areas that have abundant stock of these fish or have little of them. From that, we can gauge whether enough of the population of this particular school of fish has been preserved or violated. We can also determine if the packaging, handling, and shipping of the fish is up to the standards that we set or if they are lacking. And yes, the tracking system can show if the fish were obtained through environmentally safe means or not."<br rn\/><br rn\/>He noted that many kinds of aquarium fish are derived from Pacific waters and shipped to the US and UK where they are in great demand. <br rn\/><br rn\/><img src="http:\/\/www5.gmanews.tv\/webpics\/articles\/2007\/07\/07202007_m2.jpg" align="left" hspace="5">He believes that, in the long run, such monitoring will help ensure the protection of fishing areas, guaranteeing the long-term survival and repopulation of the fish. The ecology is kept intact, while the fishermen are guaranteed the sustenance of their livelihood.<br rn\/><br rn\/>Mae Moreno, Community Affairs Manager of Microsoft Philippines said: \u201cAt Microsoft, we make it a point to contribute to the communities where we operate. We are honored to help the Marine Aquarium Council protect the environment with our technology."<br rn\/><br rn\/>In the Philippines, Microsoft has given software grants worth more than P35 million to local non-government organizations in 2006. To apply for a software grant, e-mail <a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com<\/a>.