Most LGUs in Manila Bay fail audit on fisheries law compliance
Majority of the tested local government units (LGU) in Manila Bay are not compliant with Republic Act 10654 which amended the Fisheries Code, according to the results of the Fisheries Law Compliance Audit (FishCA) conducted by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Republic Act 10654 lapsed into law on February 27, 2015. It seeks to “prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated” or IUU fishing in the country.
Under RA 10654, sanctions have been raised to as high as P45 million for commercial fishing violators, and $2.4 million for poachers.
One of the most significant features is the installation of a Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) system in “all Philippine flagged fishing vessels regardless of fishing area and final destination of catch,” which would make it easier to ensure compliance with fisheries regulations.
The audit, which was initially tested in 19 of the 35 coastal LGUs in Manila Bay, aims to monitor the compliance of local government units to the amended Fisheries Code.
It also seeks to remind LGUs to exercise their mandate in managing municipal waters especially in fishery law enforcement, fisherfolk registration, and implementing management measures such as closed season.
The DILG first tested the audit in Manila Bay, which include cities with major fishing grounds such as Navotas, Parañaque and Las Piñas in Metro Manila, and LGUs from Bataan, Batangas and Pampanga.
Lawyer Gloria Estenzo Ramos, Vice President of Oceana Philippines, said that findings from the audit will be useful in determining fisheries management measures in Manila Bay and municipal waters nationwide, and to counter illegal fishing and the continuing degradation of marine habitats.