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Impact of illegal fishing flagged to LGUs

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galunggong
MICHAEL VARCAS_PHILIPPINE STAR

THE PHILIPPINES can achieve fish sufficiency after President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s term ends, with the protection of the 24 major fishing grounds as well as promotion of aquaculture and maintenance of 60% local fish production, according to Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources National Director Eduardo B. Gongona.

Mr. Gongona urged the local government units to monitor illegal fishing, which contributes to the reduction of fish supply.

“We are asking our LGUs to do their share. There are no fishes in the ocean, the big fish that you can see there are by-products of municipal waters. If we take care of our municipal water, that generates income and employment,” Mr. Gongona told reporters during the 1st National Anti-Illegal Fishing Summit held in Pasay on Tuesday.

According to Mr. Gongona: “Our target…is in 4 years, at the end of the term of our President, we are already fish sufficient.”

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Bernardo C. Florece Jr. said his agency lacks resources, both in manpower and equipment, to catch illegal fishers.

“There is lack of tools on the part of LGUs in implementing the law, for one. They have to have a fast craft to be able to catch illegal fishers. What they (enforcers) do is mag-abang na lang sa shore (keep watch on the shore). Malalaman natin kung iyong bang hinuli nila (We will know if the catch) is through the use of dynamite or explosives, or yung hinuli man ay maliliit (or if the catch is small),” Mr. Florece explained.

“How can you catch these illegal fishers? Pumapalaot sila sa (They go to the) deep waters,” Mr. Florece said.

Mr. Florece, however, said LGUs should be able to educate fishermen on the impact of illegal fishing, to help eradicate their activities.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) recorded a total of 925 illegal fishing activities from January to September, with dynamite and trawl fishing accounting for the most number of incidents at 211 or 23%.

Other illegal fishing activities recorded by the PCG include fishing within municipal waters and fine-mesh net fishing, ringnet fishing, purse-seine fishing, superlights fishing, and poison fishing.

Mr. Gongona said government agencies “have to capacitate municipal fishing” by allowing them to have bigger boats for commercial fishing.

He said the first “shipment” of imported round scad is set to arrive “in a week or two.”

Mr. Gongona said market prices of galunggong have gone down to P140, the item’s SRP, ahead of the importations. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio