The strong implementation of a new fisheries law can finally restore the productivity of Philippine seas. To highlight and celebrate the amended Philippine Fisheries Code (Republic Act 10654), fisheries champions shall hold a Sustainable Fisheries Summit from 19 to 20 October 2015 at the Walter Hogan Conference Center of the Institute of Social Order at the Ateneo de Manila University.
Organized by the ECOFISH Project, Greenpeace Philippines, Haribon, Institute of Social Order, NGOs for Fisheries Reform, Oceana Philippines, PAKISAMA, PANGISDA, PKSK National Union of Rural Based Organizations, Tambuyog Development Center and WWF, the summit shall enhance awareness among fisherfolk organizations plus public and private stakeholders about the amendments in the code.
Passed on 27 February 2015, RA 10654 amends the nation’s 17-year-old fisheries code by seeking to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The new law allows the country’s fisheries code to be aligned with international commitments, imposes higher fines for violations and highlights the need for better fish catch traceability systems. It also establishes a framework for improved fisheries governance that sets fish yield limits through harvest control rules, while requiring vessel monitoring measures to track and monitor the behavior of fishing vessels.
“This is an important milestone for all municipal fishers and marine conservationists, as well as fisheries NGOs that have been working for decades to ensure our fish resources are used wisely for long-term food security and ensure the economic prosperity of coastal communities. We laud the BFAR for being inclusive in pushing the passage of the law. Now is the time to inform and raise awareness among our small-scale fishers and to ensure that RA 10654 will be strongly enforced – especially in remote areas which host the greatest concentrations of fish,” said the summit’s organizers. “Through proper implementation, we can revive our seas and improve the lives of millions of fisherfolk.”
On 22 September, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala signed the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the amended fisheries code. The IRR is expected to take effect this month. (30)
For more information:
Mr. Dennis Calvan Ms. Sophia Dedace
NGOs for Fisheries Reform WWF-Philippines
Mr. Vince Cinches Atty. Rocky Guzman
Greenpeace Philippines Oceana Philippines
Properly honed and implemented, Republic Act 10654 can restore the productivity of Philippine seas and improve the lives of millions of fisherfolk. Shown is a Bicolano fisher with a handful of skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis), an economically-valuable fish. (Gregg Yan / WWF)
Small-scale or municipal fishers – which operate boats under three tonnes – fish within 15 kilometers of the shoreline. In contrast, commercial fishers operate from 15 kilometers onwards. Shown are two fisherfolk catching rabbitfish (Siganus spp.) off the coast of Coron in Palawan. (Gregg Yan / WWF)