BFAR holds national confab on amended fisheries law

THE BUREAU of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources will hold a national summit on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing which fall under Republic Act 10654 or the Amended Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998.

This will be held on Oct. 26-29, 2015 at the Philippine International Convention Center.

In March 2015, BFAR started implementing the amended law that cracks down on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU).

In an interview with Erlinda Ali, chief of the Regional Training and Fisherfolk Coordination Center of BFAR, during the RA 10654 stakeholders meeting at the Waterfront Hotel last Oct. 9, she said this bodes well for small fisherfolk and the coastal communities. The new law ensures a sustainable fishing industry as well as protect the livelihood of small fisherfolk. It aims to strengthen the law through stiff penalties to those who abuse marine resources and prevent the use of illegal and destructive fishing methods.

In June 2014, the European Union, a key player in the international fishing industry, slapped the Philippine government with a yellow card warning over alleged insufficient action to curb illegal fishing. The country was given six months to act on recommendations, or marine exports will be banned entry to the EU which is composed of 28 countries. This would hurt the economy as the Philippines export fish to EU amounting to 165 million Euros or 9.5 billion pesos in the past year.

The yellow card was however lifted in December 2014 as the country was able to provide measures to address fishing violations.

Overfishing and the destruction of the marine environment has resulted to dwindling fish catch which adversely impacts on the livelihood of people depending on the fishing industry. Data from the BFAR website estimates that poverty incidence in the fishery sector increased by one percent each year; from 35 percent in 2003 to 41.9 percent in 2009.

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