DILG to LGUs: Strengthen management of marine resources in West PH Sea | Inquirer News
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DILG to LGUs: Strengthen management of marine resources in West PH Sea

/ 04:15 PM September 05, 2021
west philippine sea fishing

(FILE) SEA ROW‘ FRONT-LINERS’ Fishermen in Pangasinan province, among the most vulnerable to harassment by Chinese Coast Guard vessels entering waters within the country’s exclusive economic zone, sort their catch after another day of risky forrays into the West Philippine Sea. —WILLIE LOMIBAO

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Sunday assured local government units (LGUs) of its support in protecting aquatic resources in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) while urging them to improve their management of municipal waters particularly in the enforcement of laws against illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said this amid the results of the Department’s Fisheries Compliance Audit (FishCA), which monitors LGUs for their enforcement and compliance with Republic Act No. 8550 or the “Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998.”

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According to FishCA’s report, LGUs need to continuously improve their management of municipal waters.

Año said some of the DILG’s partner non-government organizations (NGOs) have reported a high incidence of suspected encroachments of commercial fishing vessels in municipal waters through the use of Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) technology.

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He added that since LGUs are “at the forefront of ensuring food security, especially during the time of the pandemic,” the DILG is committed to capacitate coastal LGUs for transparent and participatory management of municipal waters under national fisheries laws.

“This enables LGUs to ensure sufficient local food supply sourced from municipal waters, manage their local food supply chains and bring markets closer to people, and ensure the continued livelihood of fisherfolk and other communities benefitting from local aquatic resources,” Año pointed out.

He also stressed the need to establish harvest control rules (HCR) and other measures that the LGUs can use as reference in enforcing regulatory measures for the sustainable use of fishery resources.

According to Año, this will allow the assessment of the quality of municipal water resources and establishment of fish catch documentation which will further allow LGUs to monitor the abundance or depletion of their resources.

Apart from this, Año also underscored the need for municipal fishers to receive technical and capacity assistance on sustainable fishing practices as well as upgrading of vessels and equipment.

Apart from streams, lakes, inland bodies of water, and tidal waters within the municipality, Marine waters between two lines drawn perpendicular to the general coastline from points where the municipality’s boundary lines touch the sea at low tide and a third line parallel to the general coastline including offshore islands and 15 kilometers from such coastline are also classified as “municipal waters” by the Philippine Fisheries Code.

According to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, over 300,000 metric tons of fish are sourced from the WPS annually. This represents 7 percent of the country’s fisheries output, with five regions directly benefiting from its waters.

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TAGS: Department of Interior and Local Government, DILG, LGUs, Local Government Units, West Philippine Sea, WPS
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