Fisheries stakeholders on the effective implementation of RA 10654

Press release - September 24, 2015
We, the members of conservation and fisheries NGOs, and fisherfolk organizations laud the passage of RA 1065, which amended the Philippine Fisheries Code, and its Implementing Rules and Regulations of the amended Fisheries Code of the Philippines, at a time when we urgently needed to revive the nation’s seas.

We commend the strong leadership of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), under Undersecretary for Fisheries Director Asis Perez, and the patience and resolve of members of the Drafting Committee comprised of representatives from the commercial fishing sector, municipal fishing sector, the academe, civil society organizations, and other  government agencies for being inclusive in the vigorous process of crafting the rules and mechanisms that would prevent, deter, and eliminate Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in our seas.

RA 10654 is a significant milestone in our collective goals of implementing the law without fear or favor. The amended Fisheries Code is beneficial to the whole fisheries industry, including the fish workers. With its enactment, the road to  recovery of Philippine seas has begun. The strong and empowering features of the amended law will now allow our seas to recover from decades of unabated exploitation, dwindling fish stocks and the degradation of our marine ecosystems.

The benefits accruing from its full implementation, such as eradication of illegal commercial fishing and unsustainable fishing from our waters ,will extend to our artisanal fishers who are the poorest of the poor. Indeed, a healthy and vibrant ocean is key to addressing poverty.  

We look forward to the next phase or the implementation of rules that govern the determination of reference points, establishment of harvest control rules, and those for the Vessel Monitoring Mechanism (VMM), to track and monitor the behaviour of commercial fishers.

As in any transition, there is always resistance to change. This is expected as the reforms we are embarking on  require changes in our behaviour and  short-term economic sacrifice. Eventually, however, this will result to  long-lasting benefits that will redound to the collective welfare of present and future generations.  Let us not lose sight of our vision: healthy and thriving seas that will be able to provide livelihood and food for fishers and their communities, supported by a flourishing seafood business sector that significantly contributes to the economy.

There is no other recourse but for all of us stakeholders to go through this reform process.  Further delay in the effective implementation of this law could result in the permanent collapse of our fisheries resources.

Time is of the essence. Let us all work together to save our seas and feed the nation. Now.

For more information:

Dennis Calvan,  NGOs for Fisheries Reform, 09178995658

Dr. Jose Ingles,WWF Philippines, 09178436219

Vince Cinches, Greenpeace Philippines, 09175363754

Atty. Rocky Guzman, Oceana Philippines, 09176595634

Pablo Rosales, Pangisda Pilipinas, 09328662093

Ruperto Aleroza, PKSK –National Union of Rural Based organizations, 09156943418