Fisherfolk groups to President Aquino: Save Philippine fisheries, adopt Roadmap to Recovery

Press release - May 30, 2014
Manila, Philippines, 30 May 2014 – On the eve of National Fisherfolk’s Day, close to 1,000 people from fisherfolk groups, civil society and non-government organizations marched to Malacañang in festive sea creature costumes to deliver their proposed Roadmap to Recovery for Philippine Oceans to address the declining state of our national seas. They urged the need for stronger policies [1] to ensure healthy seas and sustainable fisheries for present and future generations.

Initiated by Save the Fisheries Now and the Roadmap to Recovery Network [2], the group called on President Aquino to convene a crisis team that will address the deteriorating condition of the country’s marine resources.  

“The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources has turned a deaf ear to the plight of the fisherfolk,” said Dennis Calvan, Executive Director of NGOs for Fisheries Report.  “Ten out of thirteen of the country’s fishing grounds have already been depleted and yet government has not done anything, despite existing laws such as the Fisheries Code of 1998. We ask that policies, such as the National Land Use, be passed to ensure that land development will not contribute to further degradation of marine ecosystems to guarantee the sustainability of our seas.”

 

Compared to the 1960s, only 10% of fish populations remain. This has a direct impact on fisherfolk who are left with lower incomes but incur more costs and risks when they travel greater distances to catch fish. In fact, fisherfolk remain the most marginalized sector, with a poverty incidence of 41.4% in this sector according to a 2009 report by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB).

“Fisherfolk who are supposed to be feeding the country are going hungry.  We can’t even feed our own family with our fish catch.” said Pablo Rosales, National Chairperson of PANGISDA Pilipinas-Kilusan.  “It’s no surprise that our numbers are dwindling.  If nothing is done to reverse the fish decline, there won’t be fisherfolk left in 10-20 years.”

In particular, the group demands the Philippine government to: 

  • Manage fishing capacity
  • Improve conditions of critical ecosystems
  • Improve the well-being of people reliant upon our seas
  • Strengthen and streamline the management functions of government that deal with our seas.

“We ask President Aquino to oversee the government’s transition into an administration that champions the marine environment,” said Vince Cinches, Oceans Campaigner for Greenpeace Philippines. “To end overfishing, there must be priority access to resources for small-scale fisherfolk and a reduction in overall fishing capacities, most especially in the industrial scale commercial fishing sector.  Government must also establish a network of marine reserves large enough that will protect our marine ecosystems from current and future threats, including climate change.”

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Notes to editor:

[1] Link to Roadmap to Recovery for Philippine Oceans http://bit.ly/roadmap2recovery

[2] Greenpeace, Save the Fisheries Network Now, NGOs for Fisheries Reform, a coalition of 12 NGOs working of Fisheries Policies, Tambuyog Development Center Inc., Pangisda Pilipinas-Kilusan, Pambansang Kilusan nga Kababaihan sa Kanayunan, Pakisama, National Union of Rural Based Organizations Inc.(PKSK), Akbayan Citizen’s Party, Aniban ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura, People’s Movement for Climate Justice, Conservation International – Philippines,  CERD, Save the Philippine Seas, Philippine Earth Justice Center Inc., Bicol University, Bicol Consortium for Development Initiatives, Balaod Mindanaw, Sorsogon Social Action Foundation, SAC Legaspi, RTR Now Network, PUMALU-MV, Aksyon Klima, Golden Bay MPC, PO BLM, LIKAS INc.,  ACSF Inc.

[3] The Roadmap to Recovery for Philippine Oceans was the result of a National Fisheries Summit held in November 2012 where fisherfolk declared that the Philippine Sea was in a state of crisis. 

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For more information, please contact:

Vigie Benosa-Llorin, Media Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Philippines
Mobile 0917-8228793, Email

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