Various sectors lauded the Supreme Court’s decision allowing the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to push through with the ban on the use of Danish Seine and Modified Danish Seine in the Philippine waters.
Local government units, environmental groups, and non-governmental organizations (NGO) welcomed the temporary restraining order issued by the SC against an earlier decision by the Malabon Regional Trial Court prohibiting the implementation of the Fisheries Administrative Order No. 246, which bans on the use hulbot-hulbot and buli-buli.
“This is a very good development, especially for somebody like me, who has been advocating for the ban of hulbot-hulbot because it really causes serious destruction to our marine life,” Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. said in a phone interview.
“Now that we can already enforce FAO 246, the BFAR and the local government units, especially those surrounding the Visayan Seas should work collaboratively to enforce this law with strong will,” Marañon added.
Atty. Antonio Oposa Jr., an environmental lawyer and advocate, has likewise expressed agreement with the SC’s ruling on hulbot-hulbot and commended the government for banning its use.
Oposa also recounted how he and fellow environmentalists in Cebu worked with the government to abolish the practice of hulbot-hulbot fishing method.
Danish Seine and its modified form are active fishing gears often used in commercial fishing. It consists of a conical net with a pair of wings, the ends of which are connected to a rope embedded with buri, plastic strips, sinkers or other similar materials to serve as scaring or herding device hauled through a mechanical winch or by manpower.
However, it was found out that the use of hulbot-hulbot contributes to the destruction of marine habitats and other fishery resources which violates section 92 of Republic Act 8550, also known as the Fisheries Code of the Philippines, which reiterates the prohibition of the use of any fishing gears that destroy and damage coral reefs, seagrass beds, and other fishery marine life habitats.
Non-government organizations (NGOs) active in fisheries reforms expressed hope that the SC’s order would finally result in the enforcement of the ban on the use of Danish Seine and Modified Danish Seine.
“Our group is hopeful that the TRO will soon turn into a decision that would curtail the use of hulbot-hulbot in the country by not impeding its full enforcement,” said Dina Umengan, Deputy Director of Tambuyog.
Meanwhile, BFAR national director Asis Perez is pleased with the support the agency is getting from all sectors. He said BFAR is putting its best efforts to promote and implement sustainable and environmentally sound fishing practices.