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BFAR Boosts Efforts Against Illegal Fishing

10 May 2012

PHILIPPINES - The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is beefing-up its efforts against illegal, destructive fishing by providing productive and sustainable livelihoods in the country's coastal areas.

With the current limitations of the bureau, the way to effectively address these compounding problems is to set priorities and to deal with it one after the other, BFAR director Atty. Asis G. Perez said in a statement posted on the Department of Agriculture website.

“For instance, in our campaign against illegal fishing, we started by crippling the big players involved in the illegal harvesting and trading of black corals last year,” Mr Perez said, adding that the bureau is currently gearing up to go after blast fishers who had continued to destroy not just the fish but all other living organisms in the blast site, including the marine habitat.

In terms of livelihood programmes, most of the bureau’s interventions are targeted towards the municipal fisherfolk which include the provision of seaweed farming implements, installation of shallow-water payao, fish cage for livelihood and distribution of environment-friendly fishing gears, Mr Perez said.

He, meanwhile, commended those who voluntarily undertake Bantay Dagat and Bantay Lawa operations, however, he emphasized that such role should be provided by the government as part of its regular functions and services.

He said BFAR is also strengthening its ties with the Philippine National Police, the Maritime Command and other law enforcement agencies for this purpose.

“It is my dream that all fishermen would no longer worry about having to deal with illegal fishers, but instead could concentrate on improving their livelihoods in order to sustainably reap the bounty of the seas. This is not far-fetch if we will be successful in rehabilitating our seas back to its pristine state through effective law enforcement and environment protection measures,” he said.

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