DA-BFAR welcomes Senate probe on unregulated fishing
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources of the Department of Agriculture (DA-BFAR) welcomes the resolution filed by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago seeking investigation of a report by a researcher from University of the Philippines Diliman on overfishing in 75 percent of the country’s fishing grounds.
The agency in response to the recent call of the lady senator has expressed willingness to cooperate in the Senate investigation on the issue of unregulated fishing in the country.
“As the government agency mandated for the development, management and protection of the fisheries resources, BFAR supports the resolution and should they invite us to the Senate probe, we will willingly cooperate,” said BFAR national director Asis G. Perez.
Over the years, the problem of overfishing continues to haunt the Philippine fishery sector. Ten out of 13 of the country’s fishing grounds have already shown signs of overfishing based on a study by the National Stock Assessment Program (NSAP).
In line with the Aquino administration’s pursuit of good governance in which sustainable use of resources is part of, BFAR pushed for the enactment of the Republic Act (RA) 10654, which amended RA 8550, otherwise known as the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998.
“The amended Fisheries Code intends to stop all forms of unsustainable resource use. Among its salient features is the higher penalties to deter, prevent and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities,” Perez explained.
Presently, the drafting of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the said law is now on its final leg of consultation with different sectors: the government, commercial fishing companies, civil society organizations (CSOs), and fisherfolk groups.
Meanwhile, aside from the call to investigate the overfishing issue, Senator Santiago has also encouraged BFAR and other relevant agencies to converge in an effort that will ensure the stricter implementation of the amended Fisheries Code.
In December 2013, President Aquino signed Executive Order (EO) 154, which adopted the National Plan of Action (NPOA) against IUU fishing and prompted the creation of an inter-agency Philippine Committee against IUU Fishing.
On October 28, 2015, the first National Summit on IUU Fishing will be held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), where President Aquino, himself, will be the guest of honor.
The Philippines' Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, abbreviated as BFAR, is an agency of the Philippine government under
the Department of Agriculture responsible for the development, improvement, management and conservation of the Philippines'
fisheries and aquatic resources.
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