illegal-fishingPort of Dalahican, Lucena City — Coastal towns with persistent reports of illegal fishing will be identified in a “shame campaign” to address illegal fishing in the country.

This was announced by Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol after a consulation with fish industry stakeholders on January 4, 2017. In the first Biyaheng Bukid for the year.

Pinol also announced that he will recommend to President Rody Duterte the suspension of mayors and brgy. chairmen who fail to stop illegal fishing in their communities.

“The government is serious on its campaign to stop illegal fishing activities across the nation,” Piñol said.

Illegal fishing activites include cyanide and dynamite fishing.

Pinol was at the Port of Dalahican in  Lucena City, Quezon for a face to face dialogue with fishing stakeholders of the province. He also met with Mayors Paulino Sayat and Joselito Alega of Pitogo and San Francisco towns, respectively.

Pinol expressed alarm over the significant decline of fish catch in a span of four years.

From 2012-2016, total fish catch delivered to the Port of Dalahican was reduced from 5 million kilos to 1 million kilos.

According to Port Manager Jose Abarquez, one of the factors which resulted the decline was the destruction of fishing boats during typhoon Glenda in 2014.

Fishing efforts have also been reduced and some fishers opted to farm instead.

During the consultation, Piñol recommended the review of ongoing guidelines for municipal fishing grounds; declarations of closed fishing season by the local government units; continuous support to the campaign of the local government against illegal fishing; and a strengthened cooperation between DA and the LGUs to stop illegal fishing operations.

“We will provide the local government speedboats to aid them in their effort to catch illegal fishers,” Piñol said.

“At the end of the day, we want to provide available and affordable food in line with the directive of President Duterte,” he said.  (Adora Rodriguez, DA-AFID)