Reg’l task force vs illegal, unregulated fishing to implement ‘oplan’

Reg’l task force vs illegal, unregulated fishing to implement ‘oplan’
BFAR-6 PHOTO

Twelve member-agencies of the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force against Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing (RIATF-IUUF) gathered for their first regular meeting to confront the urgent challenge of unsustainable fishing practices.

The task force discussed their operational plan last April 30, to see how each of their resources and expertise can complement one another.

As Chairperson of the Task Force, DA-BFAR 6 Regional Director Remia A. Aparri emphasized that approaching IUU fishing business-as-usual might lead to a decrease in fisheries production in the region.

 “We are envisioning that with this group, the major threats we have identified — Danish Seine (Hulbot-hulbot), Trawl operation in municipal waters, Dynamite fishing, and Use of fine mesh net, will be eliminated. I know, kayang-kaya," added Director Aparri in her opening message.

The Bureau’s Fisheries Management Regulatory and Enforcement Division (FMRED) Chief Erwin Ilaya presented the Operational Plan while other members of the task force including the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) VI, Philippine National Police (PNP) Police Regional Office VI, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), Philippine Coast Guard Western Visayas (PCGWV), Philippine Navy, Regional Maritime Group, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) VI, Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) VI, National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) VI, Philippine Fisheries Development Authority (PFDA) VI, and Bureau of Customs –Port of Iloilo also reported their actions on licensing, apprehensions, and seaborne and land-based operations against IUU Fishing.

Collectively, the task force has filed 41 cases in violation of the municipal fisheries ordinance, 33 administrative, and 2 criminal cases in violation of section 97 of R.A 10654 since the start of the year.

The significance of the RIATF-IUUF cannot be overstated. Across the globe, our oceans face unprecedented pressures from overfishing, destructive fishing methods, habitat degradation, and the impacts of climate change.

These threats not only jeopardize the biodiversity and resilience of marine ecosystems but also undermine the livelihoods and food security of millions of people who depend on healthy oceans for sustenance and income.

In the face of such challenges, the regional task force plays an important role in coordinating and implementing strategies to combat IUU Fishing activities, ensuring the sustainable management of fisheries resources for present and future generations.

The creation of the task force in 2022 is among the management actions identified in the Fisheries Management Area (FMA) 11 Management Framework 2022-2027 applying the principles of the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) in reducing IUU fishing and encouraging voluntary compliance. (PR)

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