The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources of the Department of Agriculture (DA-BFAR) recognizes the sentiments of the fisheries sector—particularly, the fisherfolk. The agency shares the fisherfolk’s interest to make sure that there is continuous fishing and consistent growth in the industry. BFAR, however, believes that this would only be possible if we prevent all forms of activities that jeopardize the sustainability of our marine and aquatic resources.
Over the years, our programs and initiatives are backed by one ultimate goal—to eliminate all forms of unsustainable resource use as it compromises not only the environment but also the long-term livelihood and employment of around 1.8 million people who depend on fisheries resources. The improvement and interventions, which we are putting in place, are necessary to help the sector move forward to sustainable fishing. These precede our commitments and regional obligations to the international community as well as global market requirements. This, however, will only be fully realized if we put into law fair and reasonable provisions that would ensure that our resources are protected from all forms of abuse.
The amendments to the Fisheries Code are intended to deter, prevent and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities. The sanctions as stated in the amendments aim to hit only those who are willingly, intentionally and willfully violating the law and never those who abide by it. In fact, the amendments will benefit the fisheries sector because we ensure the elimination of destructive forms of fishing that will lead to an improved yet sustainable utilization of the fishery resources.
The government maintains its position to support the growth of the fishing industry—from all scales to every subsector. It is working so as to attain inclusive growth—that may every stakeholder reap the fruit of progress and no one is left behind. The government is only hastening the full and proper implementation of the already existing regulations in Republic Act (RA) 8550 in such a way that RA 10654 will enact its deterrent effect against those engaged in illegal and unsustainable fishing practices.
It is the government’s role to protect the livelihood of the Filipino fisherfolk but it is also the government’s responsibility to ensure the sustainability and conservation of our fishery resources.
The government has always believed in the strength of partnership it has forged with the fisheries sector. This reminds us all that this is a fight against illegal practices that threaten our fishery resources and never should it become a cause for disunity between the government and the fisheries sector. By improving the fishery’s control system, we protect the interests of the whole nation.