New report: Unabated illegal and unregulated fishing threaten sustainable seafood in PH

Press release - March 16, 2018
Manila – Unabated illegal and unregulated fishing continue to pose a threat to food security in the Philippines, according to a new report from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) - Fisheries Protection and Law Enforcement Group [1]. The agency has recorded a total of 649 apprehensions of illegal fishing practices over the last two years.

In 2016 and 2017, the highest recorded violations were unauthorized fishing, intrusion of commercial fishing vessels within municipal waters, dynamite fishing, and the use of illegal and active fishing gears in municipal waters such as hulbot-hulbot [2] and bottom trawling), including employment of unlicensed fishers.

“Even years after the Amended Fisheries Law was enacted [3], destructive and illegal commercial fishers continue to rob poor Filipinos of livelihood and cheap sources of protein. The data coming from BFAR is very disturbing and shows that illegal fishing is a continuing threat to the country’s overall food security, and may defeat the efforts of various stakeholders to pursue sustainable seafood and fisheries,” Vince Cinches, Oceans Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia - Philippines, said.

“What is worse is commercial fishers are not just profiteering from unsustainable fishing practices, but also making hefty profits through unfair labour practices by employing unlicensed fisherfolk. We urge the Duterte administration to prioritize the full enforcement of the Philippine Fisheries Law and take out identified threats to our people and the seas, in order to tilt the balance in favor of small, decentralized, and sustainable production of our food, and prevent fish from disappearing from our table, or at the very least from the plates of the majority of people who depend on the sea for sustenance,” Cinches added.

The report was presented at the recently concluded Sustainable Seafood Week that Greenpeace organized together with Meliomar, RARE and other civil society organizations [4]. The event is part of efforts toward developing a National Food Policy, and part of a much larger global movement to allow our oceans to recover for a climate-resilient, green and peaceful future.

“It is our fervent hope to make sustainable seafood a norm, instead of a niche. not just an event, but a movement. That's what we are working at, to make it accessible to everybody,” Cinches further said.

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Notes to editors:

[1]https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1t7HzwEA6sQu1JK10mBZGIWaP8pvRNHN3xZCunxoKUO4/edit?usp=sharing

[2] https://www.bfar.da.gov.ph/LAW?fi=410

[3] Amended Fisheries Law, https://www.ofdc.org.tw/components/Editor/webs/files/Republic%20Act%20No%2010654.pdf

[4] Davao Room, Sofitel, March 15, 2018 https://www.facebook.com/sustainableseafoodweekph/photos/a.1668440823427839.1073741829.1649702085301713/2032283737043544/?type=3&theater

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