THE Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Davao Region will request an additional 40 footer-patrol boat from Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol to further strengthen its monitoring and apprehension against illegal fishers in the region.
BFAR-Davao director Fatma Idris said the 40-footer patrol boat will serve as the main boat serving as command post for all existing patrol boats that include the three 20 footer-patrol boats and four 30-footer patrol boats in the region used by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), who monitor the sea waters in the region.
Idris added that it will also be the main monitoring boat with advanced radar system and detection equipment to promptly seize erring fishing boats.
"When I visited General Santos City for a meeting last month, I saw their 40-footer patrol boat and I realized that we also need that in our region as we also have a large scope of sea waters," Idris said.
Although she said there are other stakeholders who opposed the idea as the 40-footer boat is not as fast-running as the smaller boats, Idris is confident that it will benefit the city and will push through its request which will be submitted before the year ends after crafting the details of the proposal.
She said it will move around the Gulf but will mostly focus on the location where most illegal fishing cases are found such as in Baganga and Governor Generoso in Davao Oriental and Jose Abad Santos, Davao Occidental.
"This is our way to intensify our role as an implementing body for the protection of our sea by apprehending those who abuse it. We want our people to see that we are doing our job well in our office," Idris said.
From January of this year to September 15, the bureau already apprehended 10 illegal fishing boats in the region.
Idris said one common violation committed by these apprehended boats is fishing inside municipal waters or 15 kilometers away from the shorelines.
"Fishermen are not allowed to fish in that area because the water in it is just 45-feet deep. The fishing nets of these fishermen are longer than 45 feet so their nets touch the sea ground and drag the corals away, causing marine damage," she said.
BFAR-Davao, she added, is working closely against these illegal fishermen especially now.
She said the Duterte administration has shown great amount of support to the projects and advocacy of the bureau, Idris said.
The 40-footer boat patrol, she said, is expected to be given by Secretary Piñol by the last quarter of 2018 or first quarter of 2019.