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Message of DA-BFAR National Director Asis G. Perez (left), during the openning of the annual celebration of the 51st Fish Conservation week  with the theme, “SECTOR NG MANGINGISDANG REHISTRADO  AT KINILALA, KABALIKAT SA PAGSULONG NG PANGISDAANG MASAGANA” at the PCA covered court  Elliptical road Quezon City, on October 13, 2014. (at the right) Region-4A the winning group, during the “street dance” competition.

The Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) opens the annual celebration of the Fish Conservation Week, today, with some good news in store for the Philippine fishery sector.

The Fish Conservation Week, which is celebrated every third week of October, was created by virtue of Presidential Proclamation no. 176 and mandated in Republic Act 8550, also known as the Philippine Fisheries Code, to intensify awareness on the need to conserve and protect fisheries and aquatic resources.

In this year’s theme, “Sektor ng mga Mangingisdang Rehistrado at Kinilala, Kabalikat sa Pagsulong ng Pangisdaang Masagana,” BFAR highlights the significant contribution of the fisherfolk in achieving a sustainable and developed fisheries sector, which is now even more possible with the nationwide implementation of the National Program for Municipal Fisherfolk Registration (FishR).

BFAR national director Asis G. Perez said the fisherfolk database, which has already registered almost 1.3 million fisherfolk, is now being used by the government in providing the sector with targeted programs such as health care, crop insurance and various livelihood interventions.

“The fisherfolk registry systematically provides for us actual names and number which are very crucial information if we really wanted to help our fisherfolk improve their lives,” Perez said.

Last month, the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC), gave free full insurance bundle for fishing boats, seaweeds and aquaculture implements and facilities damaged by a calamity to some 115, 000 fisherfolk in 42 provinces. Next month, Perez said, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) will cover some 260, 000 fisherfolk under a free health care insurance. Perez, however, clarified that this is so far only the initial batch of fisherfolk who will benefit from FishR as more livelihood interventions will be brought down to the sector through the said program.

As for the Fish Conservation’s weeklong activities, BFAR will hold an aqua trade fair and exhibit at the PCA Covered Court at the Philippine Coconut Authority Compound in Diliman, Quezon City to showcase the country’s diverse seafood and other aquatic products. The agency will also conduct technical seminars and symposia on post-harvest technology, aquaculture and marine fisheries. Similar events are likewise conducted in the agency’s 16 regional offices to observe the annual celebration.

The celebration will culminate with the holding of the Gabi ng Parangal at Pasasalamat on October 17 during which individuals or organizations who have been proven to be advocates of conservation and instrumental to the fisheries sector’s success in the past year will be presented with awards of recognition. Winners of the Fish-Sing BFAR Hymn Making Contest will also be awarded during this night. (DA-BFAR Information and Public Relations Group)