Stakeholders on the ongoing reforms on the Fisheries Law

Press release - November 26, 2014
“We laud the passage of the amendments on Republic Act 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code.

“These reforms bring us closer to addressing the problem on Illegal, Unregulated, and Unreported Fishing (IUUF) which relentlessly plunder our waters.

A representative from the Bureau of Fisheries and Acquatic Resources points to a placard during a protest by fisherfolks against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing Wednesday, NOv. 26, 2014 in suburban Quezon City. The activity is to highlight the problems of rampant illegal fishing in the country and convey the need to reform our fisheries law, and strengthen communities for a united front against illegal fishing.
Director Asis Perez, Bureau of Fisheries and Acquatic Resources points to a placard during a protest by fisherfolk against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in suburban Quezon City. The activity is to highlight the problems of rampant illegal fishing in the country and convey the need to reform our fisheries law, and strengthen communities for a united front against illegal fishing. © Pat Roque / Greenpeace

“The approval of the IUU reforms is a victory for the fisherfolk, civil society organizations and the Filipino people, who rely on healthy seas as a primary source of food and livelihood. This is a welcome development as we have been calling for amendments to the Fisheries Code to address its shortcomings and to strengthen the rights of marginalized fisherfolk to fisheries resources. These reforms are a step forward in addressing the 39.2 percent poverty incidence in coastal communities.

“Central to it, the Philippine government should heavily invest in the recovery of our marine ecosystem and fisheries, especially since 10 out of the 13 major fishing grounds in the Philippines are already heavily exploited, and establish network of marine reserves to make it more resilient to climate change.

“We are supportive of the government in increasing the penalties on illegal fishing. However, we would like to see how fisheries management tools such as harvest control rules and reference points that should allow for better management of fish stocks.

“The legislation on illegal fishing alone is not enough to solve the problem of declining fish stocks in the Philippine waters, as it is, we have very good laws which are deemed useless because it is not properly implemented.

“The current reform should further strengthen the strong ties between BFAR, Local Governments, and empower our fishing communities and local fisheries council, and strengthen our Bantay Dagat to solve our problems on fisheries.

“In order to further strengthen the current reforms, there should be a strong commitment from the government to commit to the demands and concerns of municipal fisherfolk for a second phase with the same urgency in fisheries law reforms to address the issues of marginalized fisherfolk.

“Addressing the problem of IUUF is more than compliance to European Union trade requirement, but more so, it should also be about the country’s adherence to international agreements such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF).

“The municipal fishing sector and civil society look forward to being part of the process in determining how these reforms will be effectively enforced, fairly and sustainably.”

Kilusang Mangingisda * Pangisda Pilipinas * PKSK – National Union Of Rural Based Organizations * CLUP Now * NGOs for Fisheries Reform * Tambuyog Development Center * Oceana Philippines * World Wide Fund for Nature * Greenpeace Philippines

For more information:

Pablo Rosales
National Chairperson, Pangisda Pilipinas
+63932 866 2093

Rupert Aleroza, National Union of Rural Base Organization
0915-6943418

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