Fishing federation lauds suspension of monitoring of vessels
MANILA, Philippines — The Alliance of Philippine Fishing Federations Inc. (APFFI) on Saturday welcomed Malacañang’s decision to suspend the mandated monitoring of commercial fishing vessels in the country and stressed that the move will help improve local fish production.
The Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) earlier announced that the implementation of Fisheries Administrative Order (FAO) No. 266—which mandated fishing vessels to report their catches through a vessel monitoring system—has been suspended until the Supreme Court decides on its constitutionality.
“The suspension of FAO 266 is a bright move as it would definitely boost the country’s fish production, which is important in attaining food security,” said Roderic Santos, an Inter-Island and Deep Sea Fishing Association (IDSFA) director
IDSFA is a member group of APFFI. Other members of the alliance include Quezon-Marinduque Fishing Boat Operators and Fishermen’s Association, United Bicol Fishing Federation, Bisayas Alliance of Fisherfolk and Operators Reform Inc., Zamboanga-based SOPHIL Fishing Association, Inc. and One Visayas Fish Network Inc.
Santos said that sharp fuel price increases had taken up 40 to 50 percent of operational costs, whereas it used to just be 20 to 30 percent.
“Commercial fishing operators had to cut down on their operations and many of them did not even break-even during this time,” Santos said.
The APFFI had informed Malacañang that the Malabon City Regional Trial Court Branch 170 ruled FAO 266 as unconstitutional, rendering it null and void.
Despite this however, the DA-BFAR had allegedly still tried to implement the order, and the agency “threatened not to issue permits and licenses if the fishing vessels were not equipped with the satellite transponders required under the administrative order,” said the APFFI.
INQUIRER.net has reached out to the DA-BFAR for a comment about the issue but it has yet to respond as of posting time.
The DA-BFAR had issued FAO 266 in 2020 in an effort to strengthen government monitoring against illegal and unregulated fishing.
International advocacy organization Oceana Philippines previously opposed the suspension, appealing to the Palace to reverse the decision as it posed the threat of overfishing and depletion of fish stock.
APFFI, however, said that overfishing is not a threat to those under FAO 266’s scope.
“The allegation of overfishing is not supported by credible data. Catch data is not accurate and at present there is no credible scientific study conducted in the Philippines,” Santos stressed.