The history of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources began when the country’s civil government was established on 4 July 1901. It was the Philippine Commission who conceived the idea of creating an office under the Department of Interior to take charge of the conservation, promotion and development of the country’s fisheries resources. Despite the keen interest of the Secretary of Interior, the proposal for the creation of the said office did not materialize. Finally, in 1907, studies on fisheries emerged when the Secretary of the Interior sought the services of the U.S. Fish Commission’s research fishing vessel “Albatross” to work in Philippine waters for eighteen months. The said event had led to the employment of an American fisheries specialist in the Bureau of Science which consequently gave birth to the fisheries division. The Fisheries Division remained in the Bureau of Science until the end of 1932.
One year after the establishment of the Fisheries Division under the Bureau of Science, on 1 January 1933, by virtue of General Memorandum Order No. 4 dated 5 December 1932 issued by the Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce, the Fisheries and Zoology Divisions of the Bureau of Science plus the Division of Forest Fauna and Grazing of the Bureau of Forestry were fused together in one division, known as the Fish and Game Administration. The new office which resulted from the merging of the three offices from two separate bureaus was placed under the direct administrative jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture and Commerce.
The Fish and Game Administration took its mandate from the provisions of the Fisheries Act No. 4003 and Act No. 2590, entitled “An Act for the Protection of Game and Fish”. The jurisdiction however of the Department of Agriculture and Commerce over the Fish and Game Administration was short lived as subsequent reorganization process which took place on 27 September 1934 brought back the management of the said office to the Bureau of Science in an effort to strengthen its operation in terms of manpower, equipment and other resources.
The operation of the Fish and Game Administration when it was returned to the Bureau of Science lasted only for five years. On 1 July 1939, the office was again reorganized as an independent unit, placed again under the Department of Agriculture and Commerce and renamed as Division of Fisheries by virtue of General Administrative Order No. 15. The functions pertaining to forest fauna and grazing were returned to the Bureau of Forestry and those of the Division of Zoology to the Bureau of Science.