The Palace has clarified that the government will only implement a fishing restriction in the breeding zones, not a fishing ban.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said the government will not impose a fishing ban as it will affect the income of the country’s small-scale fishermen.
In a media interview during the rice distribution in Iriga City, Camarines Sur last Saturday, the president said a fishing ban would not be imposed but only a fishing restriction in the breeding areas.
“My explanation is not good. I was not talking about a fishing ban. What I’m saying is, where is the breeding area of the fish? Let’s not fish there so that the fish will multiply,” he said.
“But there is no fishing ban. Let’s increase the number of fish. Because I was talking to the fishermen earlier, they said that their catch is really decreasing.”
The chief executive underscored the importance of protecting fish breeding grounds to ensure an abundant supply of fish in the Philippines and to ensure that fishermen’s sources of income will not be affected.
Marcos recently said there is a need to address overfishing and boost the country’s fish population and aquaculture.
The president said these measures are part of the government’s plan to secure the country’s fish stocks, along with other initiatives for the agriculture sector to ensure food security.
The administration is also implementing programs to put up more cold storage facilities to prevent spoilage, the president said, noting that up to 30 percent of the fish catch is degraded or damaged.
Last June, Marcos said he wants to create Strategic Agriculture and Fisheries Development Zones (SAFDZ) to prevent illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUUF).
“The DA [Department of Agriculture] and the BFAR [Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources] were also directed to study the establishment of SAFDZ to provide fishery stakeholders with an area for sustainable fishing,” the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said in a statement.
Aside from the SAFDZ, officials had discussed the implementation of Fisheries Administrative Order (FAO) 266, series of 2020, which requires commercial fishing vessels (CFVs) to install vessel monitoring systems.
Marcos also wants to review the licenses of CFVs that fail to comply with FAO 266, series of 2020 and for DA and the BFAR to determine the provisions of Republic Act 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998, as amended by RA 10654, which needs to be amended.