Municipal fish production declined in 2017 due to Fisheries Code – fisherfolk group
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) blames the dwindling of the municipal fish production to the repressive provisions of the amended Fisheries Code under the Republic Act 10654, including the registration and licensing schemes.
Citing the recent report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), during the 3rd quarter of the year 2017, total volume of production for fisheries was estimated at 971 thousand metric tons, a 3.89% less than the same quarter of the year 2016. According to the statistics, municipal fisheries production went down by 0.68 during the quarter alone.
For its part, the fisherfolk group said strict fishing restrictions such as the registration and licensing schemes that curtail the fishing activities of small fisherfolk affect the fish production, not to mention the depleting fish catch in the municipal waters due to continuous entry of commercial fishing fleets that exploit municipal water resources.
“Small fishers bear the brunt of high costs of boat registration and licensing fees, failure to comply dreads them with another costly fines and strict penalties like community service, confiscation of fishing gears and worse, imprisonment,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
Hicap who is also a local fisherman in Rosario, Cavite said he spent around Php800 for the registration of his fishing boat. While in CARAGA region in Mindanao, fisherfolk does not only have to register their fishing boats, but even their simplest and backward gears used for fishing including fishing rod, pale, dipper, and flash lights.
“Under the guise of monitoring the fish stock in the sea, the government imposed highly absurd fishing rules that meant to abate fishing activities of small fishers. Some fisherfolk have been discouraged to continue fishing because of these unjust restrictions, which is actually the central objective of the amended Fisheries Code to sever the traditional capture fisheries and give way to aquaculture industry,” said Hicap, pointing out that aquaculture production which is a form of ocean grabbing rises rapidly while capture fisheries drops off.
The group calls for the scrapping of the amended Fisheries Code and will push for a new genuine fisheries reform law that will strengthen the local fish production and empower small scale fisherfolk of their right to the fishing waters. ###