Gov’t requires monitoring devices in all fishing vessels
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has issued a new administrative order mandating all local catcher vessels to install vessel monitoring measures (VMM) and an electronic reporting system.
This is in line with the agency’s directive to strengthen the government’s monitoring, control and surveillance of Philippine waters against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
VMMs are used to track and monitor the position, course and speed of fishing vessels at any given time. It uses an automatic location communicator or a tracking device equipped with a distress alert button, which when activated could automatically pinpoint where the vessel is and alert authorities during accidents or any other emergencies.
According to the new order, BFAR will accredit, verify and certify tracking devices as a prerequisite for registration or renewal of fishing licenses. For vessels weighing 3.1 to less than 30 gross tonnages (GT), the VMM must be installed within a year from the effectivity of the order. For vessels weighing 30 GT or more, it must be installed immediately.
Noncompliance may result in administrative or criminal liability, BFAR stressed.
At the same time, an electronic reporting system will be used to record and transmit catch data, including species and volume of fish caught, the position of the vessel where the fish are caught, vessel activity and port of origin and arrival in real-time.
This is expected to improve the agency’s catch documentation and seafood traceability and will be used to track fishing behavior for scientific research and serve as a basis in crafting fisheries management measures. INQ