PH suspends monitoring of commercial fishing vessels
MANILA -The government has suspended monitoring of commercial fishing vessels in the Philippines, a move that an environmental organization said would affect the livelihood of small fishermen since it could encourage illegal fishing.
In a statement, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said Malacañang arrived at the decision to suspend the monitoring pending the Supreme Court’s decision over its constitutionality.|
The agency cited the March 13 memorandum of Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin which suspended Fisheries Administrative Order (FAO) No. 266, citing the principle of ex abundanti cautela, or to be on the safe side absent a final order from the high court.
Issued in 2020, FAO No. 266 requires commercial fishing vessels operating in domestic waters and distant waters to install a vessel monitoring system.
It aims to enhance monitoring of fishing operations, enhance law enforcement, aid in seafood traceability and catch documentary requirements and ensure the safety of fishers.
In the meantime, the government directed concerned agencies “to strengthen the government’s response against illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and to submit its recommendations to the Office of the President,” said BFAR.
International advocacy organization Oceana Philippines opposed the latest pronouncement and appealed to the Marcos administration to reconsider its decision.
Oceana Philippines vice president Gloria Estenzo Ramos said this would result in overfishing and depletion of fish stocks and could further harm the country’s already vulnerable and declining fisheries and marine resources. INQ