In PH, small fishermen race commercial fishing vessels for dwindling catch

Benise Balaoing, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 09 2022 11:04 AM

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MANILA – An advocacy group is urging the Philippine government to implement the vessel monitoring system to drive away commercial fishing vessels intruding into municipal waters.

Oceana Philippines senior campaign manager Danny Ocampo said that under the Fisheries Code, the 15-kilometer area from the shoreline in municipal waters is reserved for fishermen with small vessels.

"Sila yung walang kakayahang lumaot nang malayo dahil ang mga bangka nila maliliit, ang palakaya nila o yung ginagamit pangisda ay ano lang, mga simple, katulad ng kawil at maliliit na lambat,” he told TeleRadyo. 

Ocampo warned the intrusion of commercial fishing vessels in municipal waters negatively impacts poor fishermen.

“Yung isang nabanggit ng mayor sa northern Cebu, si Mayor Mariano Martinez ‘no, ng San Remigio, ang binanggit niya sa’min, kapag nagdatingan o pumasok yung mga commercial fishing vessels doon sa municipal waters nila doon sa northern Cebu, ang sabi niya, 7-10 araw halos walang mahuli yung mga maliliit na mangingisda," he said. 

“At kung titingnan natin, yung 7-10 araw na yun, ang ibig sabihin niyan, yung maliliit na mangingisda ay walang maiuuwing pagkain sa kanilang hapag-kainan."

“Pangalawa yung kanilang kita ay hindi nila makukuha at magkakaproblema sila doon sa pagsuporta sa pangangailangan ng pamilya,” he added.

Oceana is pushing for the implementation of a vessel monitoring system that will help the government track down commercial fishing vessels. 

Ocampo said that there are 3,077 boats nationwide that need to be fitted with vessel monitoring systems. 

“Pero hanggang sa ngayon, kalahati pa lang yung nakakabitan,” he said.

Ocampo called on the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and Department of Agriculture (DA) to properly implement the law and ensure the welfare of small fisherfolk.

“Ngayong taon po yung International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture. Taon po ito na sana kilalanin natin yung kontribusyon ng maliliit na mangingisda para mabigyan tayong masustansiyang pagkain, mabigyan tayo ng kasiguruhan sa pagkain at mapangalagaan ating karagatan,” he said.

“So kami po sa Oceana, kasama yung aming mga partner fisherfolk at NGOs, naanawagan po sa BFAR at DA or Department of Agriculture na patuloy sanang ipatupad yung batas at magkaroon ng angkop na programa para mapangalagaan ang ating karagatan at pangisdaan at kapakanan ng ating mga mangingisda,” he said.

--TeleRadyo, 9 February 2022