Group sounds alarm on declining fish catch in PH, says waters overfished

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 31 2022 01:02 PM | Updated as of May 31 2022 01:26 PM

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MANILA – An advocacy group on Tuesday expressed concern over the declining catch of fishermen in the Philippines.

Oceana Philippines campaign and research director Atty. Rhea Yray-Frossard told TeleRadyo that fishermen are still among the poorest people in the Philippines today and they catching even fewer fish.

“Sa datos ng ating Philippine Statistics Authority, nakikita doon na isa ang mga sardinas na nag-drop yung catch nung tamban at ng lawlaw or tunsoy…from 442,000 metric tons (MT) in 2020, nagiging 325,226 MT na lang siya,” Frossard said.

(According to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, our country's sardines or tamban, lawlaw, and tunsoy declined: from 442,000 MT in 2020, the latest data show it is now at 325,226 MT.)

“Makikita rin natin na declining yung fish stocks, meaning, konti na lang yung kanilang source of livelihood, at konti na lang din yung kanilang nakakain kaya naman sila talaga yung nananatili doon sa pinakamahirap na sector sa ating bansa,” she added.

(We also saw declining fish stocks, meaning fishermen have less lovelihood sources and less food sources. That's why they remain in the list of poorest sectors in the country.)

Frossard said their data show that Philippine fishing grounds are overfished.

“Nag-study yung ating mga scientist, at the same time nakita doon na declining talaga yung ating fish stocks. Overfished na ang ating pangisdaan, not only in the Philippines but in the whole world,” she noted.

(Our scientists conducted a study, and at the same time we saw declining fish stocks in the country. Waters in the Philippines and worldwide are overfished.)

The official said the government should ensure proper fisheries management in the country.

“Lahat ng mga polisiya dapat science-based, dapat participatory, meaning lahat nung mga sector na nagdedepend sa ating pangisdaan ay involved in the decision-making o mga policies na gaganapin sa kanya-kanyang mga fisheries management area, and dapat transparent yung ating mga datos.”

(Policies must be science-based and participatory--meaning all sectors who depend on fishing for their income must participate in decision-making and implementing the policies in their respective fisheries management areas.)

She also called for the implementation of the National Sardine Management Plan.

“Nalagdaan ito nung May 15, 2020, by Department of Agriculture Secretary (William) Dar, at dapat sana ma-implement na ito sa 12 fisheries management area, kaya lang since 2020 until 2025 talaga itong planong ito, this 2022, dalawa lang sa 12 fisheries management area yung nag-implement. That’s 7 and 12--that’s in the area of Bicol, Samar, and dito naman sa area ng Batangas,” she explained.

(This was signed in May 15, 2020, by Department of Agriculture Secretary William Dar, and this was suppoed to be implemented in the 12 fisheries management areas in the country. But since it's meant to be implemented from 2020-2025, only 2 areas have implemented it--the areas near Bicol and Samar, and the area in Batangas.)

“So kailangan na maaksyunan, kailangan na ma-implement itong National Sardine Management Plan kasi we cannot afford to sit down and just watch the declining fish stocks and our kababayan na ating mga mangingisda yung pinaka vulnerable sa mga epekto ng climate change, ng ating declining fish stocks,” she said.

(So we ne need to take action and implement the National Sardine Management Plan because we cannot afford to sit down and just watch the declining fish stocks while our fishermen suffer the effects of climate change and declining fish stocks.)

“Dapat paigitingin din yung ating law enforcement, kasi madami tayo, maganda yung ating batas pero kulang talaga yung implementation,” she added.

(We need to improve law enforcement, because we have a lot of good laws but lack implementation.)

--TeleRadyo, 31 May 2022