The Philippine government will step up maritime patrols through a strengthened partnership between the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The BFAR of the Ministry of Agriculture and the PNP Maritime Group (PNP-MG) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOA) granting PNP personnel the right to embark on any vessel available from BFAR as a “shiprider. To carry out joint maritime patrols.
Under the MoU, BFAR will act as the lead agency in the enforcement of fisheries and marine conservation laws while PNP-MG will provide staff to augment the office staff in the conduct of operations. maritime patrol, particularly in the aspect of law enforcement and investigations.
“The signing of the memorandum will intensify the efforts of both government agencies to enforce fisheries laws, including conservation and management measures and marine conservation laws in the seas of the Philippines to prevent, deter and eliminate fishing activities. illegal fishing and protect the region’s marine environment. overexploitation, ”BFAR said in the statement.
Tackling 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 under the name of “Law to prevent, discourage and eliminate, Unreported and unregulated fishing”, provides for more severe penalties for apprehended fishermen and boat owners while demanding better surveillance systems to end fishing INN.
According to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) report, up to 40 percent of the fish caught and distributed in the Philippines in 2019 came from IUU fishing. This translates to a value of around 62 billion pesos per year. In addition, at least 30,000 or 30 percent of municipal vessels are still unregistered, and commercial fishermen fail to report up to 422,000 metric tonnes of fish each year.
In September 2021, the BFAR Fisheries Protection and Law Enforcement Group reported a total of 489 arrests, including 436 fishing vehicles comprising municipal boats and small, medium and large commercial fishing vessels.
BFAR further said it has enhanced its law enforcement capacity program with advanced technology such as the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) and the 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, 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,” BFAR said. .
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