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Philippine steps up fight vs illegal fishing

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star
Philippine steps up fight vs illegal fishing
The Department of Agriculture recently issued Fissheries Administrative Order 260 which requires all Philippine catcher vessels to install vessel monitoring measures and electronic reporting system
Andy Zapata Jr.

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is finally requiring all catcher vessels to have a monitoring system as it intensifies measures against illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUUF) in the country’s marine grounds.

The Department of Agriculture recently issued Fissheries Administrative Order 260 which requires all Philippine catcher vessels to install vessel monitoring measures (VMM) and electronic reporting system (ERS).

Based on the order, vessels weighing 3.1 to less than 30 gross tons must have a DA-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-approved vessel monitoring systems within one year from the effectivity of the FAO.

For vessels weighing 30 GT or more, VMS must be installed immediately.

The implementation of the VMM will enhance the capacity of the government to monitor fishing operations and enforce laws in Philippine waters to achieve long-term sustainability of marine resources.

VMS are used to track and monitor the position, course, and speed of fishing vessels at any given time for the purpose of management of fisheries and fishing effort and traceability.

The system will use an automatic location communicator or a tracking device equipped with a distress alert button, which when activated will automatically locate the vessel and alert authorities during accidents or other emergencies, ensuring safety of fishers at sea.

Based on the new order, DA-BFAR will accredit, verify as fully operational, and certify the tracking devices that will be used as prerequisites for registration or renewal of license.

An ERS will also be used to record and transmit catch data including species and volume of fish caught, position of the vessel where the fish are caught, vessel activity, and port of origin and arrival in real time.

The system will improve the country’s catch documentation and seafood traceability. Data from ERS and VMS can also be used in tracking fishing behavior for scientific research and serve as a basis for more effective fisheries management measures.

Under the Amended Fisheries Code, non-compliance to the VMM or violations such as intentionally tampering with, switching off or disabling the VMS may result in administrative or criminal liability.

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FISHING
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