Creation of Department of Fisheries urged

Kristine B. Quintas/LPM (The Freeman) - November 2, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Fisherfolk and non-government organizations have called on political leaders to prioritize platforms on fisheries management.

They also urged legislators to form a Department of Fisheries to strengthen the enforcement of fisheries law.

 These were part of the joint declaration of Oceana, Greenpeace, USAID, Pangisda and Pakisama, a national confederation of small farmers and fisheries organizations, among others, towards sustainable fisheries.

 They said political aspirants must have “clear and time bound” platforms on fisheries management.

 “They must also place sustainable fisheries as a critical pillar of their electoral agenda,” they said.

 “We look forward to the second-generation reform of the law to address conflicting provisions, to further tackle poverty among fisherfolk, and to ensure the health of our fish stocks,” they added.

 Further, they said once a separate department is established, it can focus more on how to “effectively manage our coastal and marine resources” aside from strengthening the enforcement and regulatory functions.

 Similar concern was also raised by a fisherman from Surigao del Norte during the recently concluded National Summit on Participatory Governance Towards Sustainable Fisheries at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.

 Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said though that creation of new department or separation of BFAR from the Department of Agriculture is not an “immediate concern” of the present administration.

 He explained that even if BFAR is an attached agency of DA, it still received sufficient allocations from the national government.

 He said BFAR got P6.6 billion budget this year compared to the P3.3 billion allocation five years ago or in 2010.

 On top of that, he said the government has augmented the floating assets of the agency with 70 units of 30 footer boats.

 “Patuloy ang acquisition of seaboard assets to strengthen efforts in conducting sea patrols,” he said.

 Aside from budgetary and logistical aspects, he said the Fisheries Law has given more teeth with the passage of Republic Act 10654, which amended the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998.

 He said the amendatory law will help the country’s fisheries as well as promoting participatory governance and sustainable fishery laws.

 The amended law imposes higher fines of up to P45 million on large-scale commercial fishing without permits.   (FREEMAN)

 

 

ACIRC AGRICULTURE SECRETARY PROCESO ALCALA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES FISHERIES FISHERIES LAW NATIONAL SUMMIT NBSP PANGISDA AND PAKISAMA PARTICIPATORY GOVERNANCE TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES PASAY CITY
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