51-page primer out explaining ‘complexities’ in fisheries code
May B. Miasco (The Freeman) - April 9, 2017 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Marine conservation group Oceana Philippines introduced a guide to the fisheries sector that articulates in simpler context the complexities of the existing fisheries law.

The formal presentation of the 51-page primer of the amended Philippine Fisheries Code, whose publisher is Oceana Philippines International, was launched last Friday in Cebu City.

“The amended code is God-sent for the fisheries sector, but understanding a set of complicated rules might not be easy for all. To address this, we created the printed and downloadable primers,” said Oceana Philippines Vice President Atty. Gloria Estenzo-Ramos in a statement.

The Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 or Republic Act (RA) 8550 was amended over two years ago by RA 10654 that provides higher penalties for violations and mandating better monitoring systems to stop illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

“The amended fisheries code provides the bite needed to empower our local enforcers to better protect our seas, allowing fish stocks to recover from decades of overfishing,” said Ramos.

The primer serves as a simple guide for fishers, local government units, law enforcers and civil society sectors on IUU fishing, and includes the rules implementing the law, and the salient provisions of the amended fisheries code.

The primer, which also features eye-catching photos taken in land and under the sea, endeavors to present the law in non-technical language to facilitate effective implementation and enforcement by the enforcers and citizens.

On the handbook's preface, Ramos cited that the primer which centers on the amended fisheries code was borne out of Oceana’s advocacy, which is “to popularize the knowledge of and mainstream the implementation of our laws to restore the abundance of our fisheries.”

“This publication will aid our policymakers, law enforcers, local government units, and citizens in strengthening existing collaboration in working together to prevent, combat and deter illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in the Philippine seas,” part of the introduction read.

To recall, Philippines took a yellow card warning on June 2014 from the European Union (EU) that drove lawmakers to amend the 17-year-old fisheries code.

The yellow card served to warn the country that all its seafood products will be banned by EU if it would not take steps to seriously combat IUU fishing.

The EU, which has sanctioned nations that ignore international fishing standards since 2010, is the world’s top fish consumer and has imported P9.4 billion worth of seafood from the Philippines in 2013. —/GAN (FREEMAN)

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