Philippine government asked to explain “failure” to stop overfishing
29 Sep 2011 01:45 GMT
23 Marunong Street, Barangay Central, Quezon City
The government has failed to meet the objective of rationalizing the utilization of the country’s fishery resources under the Comprehensive National Fisheries Industry Development Plan (CNFIDP) for 2006-2025.
A fisheries non-government organization said that the government has failed to meet the objective of rationalizing the utilization of the country’s fishery resources under the Comprehensive National Fisheries Industry Development Plan (CNFIDP) for 2006-2025.
The CNFIDP is the government’s long-term development plan for the local fisheries industry.
At the same time, the Tambuyog Development Center asked the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to explain to the public why they have failed to curb the problem of overfishing which BFAR reported recently to be rampant in 10 of the country’s major fishing grounds.
In a statement on Monday, Arsenio Tanchuling, Tambuyog executive director, said that the DA and BFAR did not attain the objective of rationalizing utilization of fishery resources particularly for the first medium-term period of 2006-2010.
“One of the targets is to optimize fishing within sustainable levels by 2010, but how come that 10 major fishing grounds in the country continue to be over-exploited?” he asked.
Earlier this month, BFAR told the media that 10 fishing grounds are “heavily exploited” and these are: Lingayen Gulf, Northern Zambales, Visayan Sea, Camotes Sea, Honda Bay, Babuyan Channel, Lagonoy Gulf, Sorsogon Bay, Hinatuan and Dinagat Bay and Davao Gulf. The Bureau also said that the population and size of sardines and galunggong, among other small pelagic fishes, are dwindling due to overfishing.
Tanchuling lamented the fact under the CNFIDP, the DA and BFAR already recognized that the maximum sustainable yield (MSY) of the country’s fishing grounds is limited to 1.9 million tons annually.
“Therefore, the DA and BFAR should have implemented the planned measures to reduce the fishing effort in the country’s fishing grounds to keep production within the 1.9 million-ton sustainable limit. But the combined annual production of commercial and municipal capture fisheries stood at more than 2.4 million tons in 2009 (the latest BFAR data), thus still exceeding the sustainable limit,” he pointed out.
He noted that one of the planned measures under the CNFIDP was to expand fisheries production in the unexploited waters of the country’s 200 nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and beyond.
“We therefore ask DA and BFAR what happened to this plan and why they have failed to keep capture fisheries production at sustainable levels,” Tanchuling added. -End-