BFAR wants to upgrade assets for stronger monitoring
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) wants to implement a massive upgrade on its assets in order to fight Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.
Drusila Esther Bayate, BFAR Assistant Director for Technical Services, said BFAR is now on the process of hiring more fishing regulation officers to intensify monitoring across the country’s waters.
The agency is likewise asking for additional budget to increase its floating assets such as monitoring control surveillance vessels, which are used to protect Philippine waters from poachers and illegal fishing.
Bayate said the strengthened monitoring is required in the amended fisheries code.
It was in 2015 when the government forged the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the amended fisheries code, which was hoped to provide a clear direction in terms of protecting and conserving the country’s marine and aquatic resources.
The IRR lays down the guidelines on the enforcement of various fisheries conservation measures, and specific procedures on how to impose penalties to fishers who commit IUU fishing activities.
“We didn’t have law enforcers before the code was amended so this required a lot of effort. We are now on the process of re-organization and we are recruiting fishing regulations officers (around 600 more). It is easy to say but in practice, this is hard to pull off,” Bayate said in an interview with reporters.
“We are also on the process of building our floating assets. The ocean is just really too vast,” she added.
As of now, BFAR only has 14 monitoring control surveillance vessels and according to Bayate, they “have all outgrown their use”.