The activity of fishing boats increases from January to April; to alert


COMMERCIAL fishing vessels detected in municipal waters increased by nearly a third in the first four months of the year, according to data released by Oceana Philippines on Wednesday.

Data from Oceana Philippines showed that there were a total of 18,564 commercial vessels between January and April this year, out of the 14,089 commercial vessels detected during the same period last year. This represents an increase of 31.76 percent.

The data was obtained using the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), a tool that aims to combat illegal fishing and protect marine biodiversity, especially in municipal waters.

“Irresponsible fishing has reduced many populations of wild fish to historically low levels at a time when the world needs its oceans more than ever,” said Oceana Philippines Vice President Gloria Estenzo Ramos. The locality which recorded the greatest number of commercial vessels was the city of Zamboanga with 1,045 vessels.

This is an increase of 74.17 percent from the 600 commercial fishing vessels last year.

The localities included in the top 10 were Milagros, Masbate, with 956 commercial fishing vessels; San Pascual in Masbate, 645; Coron in Palawan, 609; and San Francisco in Quezon, 554. The list includes Hadji Mohammad Ajul in Basilan with 530 commercial fishing boats; Tongkil in Sulu, 507; Santa Cruz in Marinduque, 474; Claveria in Masbate, 428; and Cuyo in Palawan, 424.

Among the top 10, San Pascual in Masbate recorded the largest increase with 907.81%, compared to just 64 commercial fishing vessels detected in municipal waters in 2018.

Deploying commercial vessels in municipal waters is a violation of the Philippine Fisheries Code as amended by RA 10654. Under the law, only registered fishermen and their organizations are permitted to fish in municipal waters. Ramos said that despite the increase in the number of commercial fishing boats detected in municipal waters, there is hope.

World Fisheries Watch

She said greater transparency can help improve the plight of the world’s oceans and wildlife. One way is to use technologies such as Automatic Identification System (AIS).

Ramos said Global Fishing Watch (GFW) and Oceana are advocating for increased AIS requirements and for more countries to release their vessel monitoring system (VMS) data, as are Indonesia and Peru. .

“One way to solve the problem of transparency in the world’s seas is to increase the number of vessels visible to the public and to make the data available and accessible,” said Ramos.

“That’s where Global Fishing Watch comes in. It uses cutting-edge technology to visualize, track and share data on global fishing activity as it unfolds and places it on a platform. free form, ”she added.

GFW chief executive Tony Long said they were in talks with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), which he said appears “receptive” to AIS.

Using systems like AIS, Long said, can help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular Goal 14 which aims to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and seas. marine resources for sustainable development.

He said 2020 is a crucial year, especially for the targets of SDG 14 – eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, as well as ban all forms of fishing subsidies.

AIS, Long said, can help get fishermen to comply, as well as determine the best place to implement subsidies.

“It [meeting with BFAR] felt like a very productive session, there were a lot of good questions, ”Long said. “It was a very positive meeting.

Commercial fishing is prohibited in municipal waters under the Fisheries Code, as amended in 2015. The Code contains strict measures to combat IUU fishing, such as vessel monitoring technology for all commercial fishing vessels from 3.1 gross tonnage and above.

The Ministry of the Interior and Local Government published in April 2018 its implementation guidelines for all coastal towns and municipalities to regulate and monitor all fishing activities under its jurisdiction.

Working to protect and restore the world’s oceans, Oceana in the Philippines is helping the government analyze VIIRS data to detect, via satellite, a supposedly dark environment, such as large bodies of water, artificial light sources or super lights.

These are likely used by fishing vessels, such as purse seiners and gillnets, which have been found inside no-go zones in municipal waters.

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