Navotas traders declare 'holiday' Thursday to protest fishing restrictions in Manila Bay | Inquirer News

Navotas traders declare ‘holiday’ Thursday to protest fishing restrictions in Manila Bay

/ 09:21 PM July 21, 2015

MANILA, Philippines — Expect no fish in public markets on Thursday.

This is according to the head of a Navotas fish trader association, who announced on Tuesday, the conduct of a “fish holiday” as a form of protest against what he said were the “restrictive and inhumane” new rules that would soon govern fishing in the Manila Bay.

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Mario Pascual, president of the Navotas Market 3, 4 and 5 Association, said “more than 1,000” fishermen from different coastal communities in Batangas, Bataan, Pasay, among others, who have been catching their fish in Manila Bay, and traders who have been selling those products in public markets all over the country, would refuse to fish in the bay and sell them on Thursday (July 23).

The Navotas Market 3, 4 and 5 Association is under the umbrella organization of the United Transport Workers Organization of the Philippines-Fisherfolk Sector that includes the Samahan ng mga Mangingisda sa Buong Manila Bay (Association of Fishers in the Entire Manila Bay), and the Metro Manila Fish Vendors.

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“This is our way of condemning the rules to be implemented by the government in September,” Pascual said.

He said these “restrictive and inhumane” rules were part of the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act 10654 that amended the Philippine Fisheries Code.

He said the act became a law early this year, and the IRR were discussed with the  fisherfolk by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources only days ago.

Pascual said among the rules they contested were the fishing prohibition “beyond 15 kilometers (of the bay) from the shoreline,” the prohibition of the use of nets and other “active gear” in fishing, and the delimitation of the amount of fish to be caught in allowable areas.

He said under the first rule, “virtually the entire Manila Bay” could not be a fishing ground because the 15 kilometers from the shoreline of each coastal area “almost overlap” with those of other coast lines.

“This is because the Manila Bay is circumferential. So the 15 kilometers beyond the shoreline from Manila overlaps with the 15 kilometers beyond the shoreline from Bataan, for example,” he said.

He added that since the BFAR would only allow the use of a hook and fish pole in those allowable fishing areas in the bay, fishermen could be expected to catch less fish in a day.

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“And then you are only allowed to catch three kilos of fish per day. The fishermen were told that the 1.5 kilos of that were so they could buy rice, and the other 1.5 kilos for their viand. But what about their fare? Water? Electricity?,” he said, noting that the same would have a disastrous economic effect on fish traders as well.

Pascual said on the day of the fish holiday, the more than 1,000 fishermen and fish traders would stage a rally in Mendiola instead.

He said their respective families would accompany them.

“So we expect a lot of people. More than 10,000, maybe,” he said.

They will assemble at Baywalk, at 10 a.m. and march to Mendiola at 10:30 a.m., according to Pascual.

“We have yet to finalize details (about whether a program would be held in Mendiola or not),” he said. SFM

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TAGS: 4, 5 Association, Bataan, Batangas, fish traders, Fishermen, fishery, Fishing, fishing holiday, Manila, Manila Bay, march, Mario Pascual, Metro Manila, Navotas fish traders, Navotas Market 3, News, Pasay City, Philippine Fisheries Code, protest, Republic Act 10654, Samahan ng mga Mangingisda sa Buong Manila Bay, United Transport Workers Organization of the Philippines-Fisherfolk Sector
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