Marcos urged to create fisheries department | Inquirer News

Marcos urged to create fisheries department

La Union fish cage. STORY: Marcos urged to create fisheries department

This is a cage in Santo Tomas town, La Union for raising golden bangus (milkfish). (Photo courtesy of WESTLY ROSARIO)

MANILA, Philippines — Various fisheries groups are asking President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to certify as urgent a bill creating the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DFAR) to unlock the full potential of the country’s fisheries sector.

At present, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), an agency responsible for the development, improvement, management and conservation of the Philippine fisheries and aquatic resources, is under the Department of Agriculture (DA).


At a virtual briefing, Asis Perez, convenor of Tugon Kabuhayan, said the sector has been pushing for the creation of a separate department of fisheries but to no avail. Various bills were also filed in Congress to create a DFAR in the past yet none of them passed second reading.


Perez, who previously headed BFAR, said the establishment of a DFAR would raise the allotted budget for the sector to P15 billion which, in turn, can be utilized to boost fisheries production.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data showed that fisheries production has improved in the last two decades, from almost 3.17 million metric tons in 2001 to 4.4 million metric tons in 2020.

However, the PSA said in a report that total fisheries production in 2021 dropped by 3.4 percent to 4.25 million MT.

“Imagine where the P12 billion will take you. Obviously, if the budget is increased to P12 to P15 billion, the impact will be significant,” Perez said.

“The good thing about the bureau now is its structure is up to the provincial level. There are assigned provincial fisheries officers under the bureau. The structure I would say is deeper than the DA because the level of personnel of the DA is at the regional level only,” he told reporters.

Norberto Chingcuanco, vice president for corporate planning of Feedmix Specialist Inc., said the fisheries sector was overlooked despite its huge potential.


“For instance, until now, there are no protocols on permits and it changes annually. Fishing will ensure the growth of employment in the countryside,” Chingcuanco said.

The fisheries sector provides livelihood and sustenance to 2.08 million registered fisherfolk and fish workers in the aquaculture, municipal, and commercial subsectors, according to BFAR’s fisheries profile. It excludes workers in fish processing plants, aquaculture feed mills, and other allied industries.


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