MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Agriculture (DA) assures that it will continue to implement measures to deter and prevent illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUUF) amid the European Union’s (EU) warning that Philippine fish exports may be banned from the trading bloc.
“The Philippine Government has stated and made substantial progress in pursuing legal, administrative and budgetary reform to effect good governance in the fishing sector to address not only IUUF, but its concomitant cause or drivers,” Agriculture undersecretary Emerson Palad said in a statement yesterday.
He noted that being an exporter to Europe, the Philippine government through the DA’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources has been in talks with the European Commission’s Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries to address IUUF issues.
During the last informal dialogue between the parties held from June 3 to 6, the DA reported all the gains made and actions being taken by the Philippines to prevent IUUF.
Among the measures undertaken is the adoption of a National Plan of Action through Executive Order No. 154 signed by President Aquino in December 2013 which prompts the creation of an Inter-agency Philippine Committee against IUUF.
Reforms have also been made in fisheries monitoring control and surveillance through a fully functional vessel monitoring system and acquisition of multi-mission patrol crafts.
Amendments to the Fisheries Code to further strengthen policy instruments against IUUF is likewise being pushed.
Palad said the initiative has the full support of the Senate Agriculture and Food Committee through chairperson Senator Cynthia Villar who filed the Senate Substitute Bill No. 2207, as well as from Benhur Salimbangon, House of Representatives Aquaculture and Fisheries Resources Committee chair and Cebu 4th district representative who authored House Substitute Bill No. 4536.
Both proposed substitute bills seek to amend penalties to various violations, including IUUF, among others in the Fisheries Code of 1998.