QUEZON CITY, Jan. 11 - The Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol promised a livelihood support deal to fisherfolk if they stop illegal fishing but called out local government officials to rein in illegal fishing activities in their areas.
Speaking before the fisherfolk of Marinduque on January 4, Piñol, who vowed early on to curb illegal and unsustainable fishing practices in the country’s fishing grounds, offered fishers to cease illegal fishing in exchange for livelihood assistance, which will come from the government.
“Stop illegal fishing and tell me what livelihood program you need. We will give it to you,” he said after reports of illegal fishing activities still surface occasionally in the country’s municipal waters.
For its part, the government, through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), an attached agency of the DA, is already distributing environment-friendly gears, gill nets and handline to encourage fisherfolk to use sustainable fishing methods. BFAR is also set to hand down 200, 000 fiberglass boats and construct hundreds of community fish landing centers (CFLCs) in six years as part of its livelihood support to municipal fisherfolk.
The agriculture chief turned stern, however, when he warned mayors and barangay captains to stop illegal fishing in their areas otherwise the DA will publish their names on national newspapers for failing to stop unsustainable fishing practices.
“We will give all mayors and barangay captains until June [this year]. If there are mayors or barangay captains who are involved in illegal fishing, then I will ask the President [Rodrigo Duterte] to suspend them for neglect of duty,” he said.
Meanwhile, BFAR national director Eduardo Gongona said the bureau is matching livelihood assistance efforts with the strengthening of resource management and law enforcement measures, which means more seaborne patrol operations in the country’s fishing grounds will be conducted to prevent illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. (DA)