MANILA – The Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) and the Philippine National Police-Maritime Group (PNP-MG) on Friday signed a memorandum of understanding at BFAR’s central office in Quezon City.
The MoU grants PNP personnel the right to embark on any available DA-BFAR vessel as a âshipriderâ to conduct a joint maritime patrol.
âThe DA-BFAR will act as the lead agency in the enforcement of laws on fisheries and marine conservation while the PNP-MG will provide personnel to increase the number of the office in the conduct of maritime patrol operations. , particularly in the aspect of law enforcement and investigations, “says the MoU.
The signing of the MoU, said DA-BFAR National Director Eduardo Gongona, will intensify the efforts of the two government agencies to enforce fisheries laws, including conservation and management measures and laws on marine conservation in the seas of the Philippines to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal fishing activities. and protect the marine environment of the area from overexploitation.
âTackling illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities has been a long-standing government commitment, starting with the amendment of the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998. Republic Act 10654, also known known as the âLaw to Prevent, Discourage and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishingâ, provides for heavier penalties for apprehended fishermen and boat owners while demanding better monitoring systems to end fishing. IUU fishing, âGongona said.
As of September 2021, BFAR’s Fisheries Protection and Law Enforcement Group reported a total of 489 arrests, of which 436 were apprehended fishing vehicles, including municipal boats and small commercial fishing vessels, medium and large size.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar’s âOneDAâ reform program on the use of technology and innovation in the agro-fisheries sector and DA guidance on strengthening fisheries conservation measures urged BFAR to upgrade its law enforcement capacity programs with cutting edge technology such as visible infrared imaging. radiometer (VIIRS) and integrated marine environment monitoring system (IMEMS).
Both VIIRS and IMEMS are designed to amplify government monitoring, control and surveillance of coastal waters and the country’s exclusive economic zone.
“With the completion of these projects, DA-BFAR and PNP-MG are optimistic about stopping IUU fishing in Philippine waters to ensure the safety of our fishermen and the conservation of our marine resources,” said Gongona. (ANP)