TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan: The local government of Claveria has allocated at least P3.1 million for its Fisheries Law Enforcement Team (FLET) and vows to maintain and strengthen its mechanism against illegal fishing activities.
The coastal town that is the prime fishing ground in Cagayan Valley (Region 2) is among the 12 municipalities along the entire stretch of Babuyan Channel having strong institutional support and mechanisms to check illegal fishing.
The local government formed its FLET composed of 30 deputy fish wardens back in 2012 that collaborates with Fisheries Law Enforcement Agencies such as the Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard, and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to curb illegal fishing in their area.
In 2015, it had a budget of P2.8 million and was increased by 10 percent for 2017.
Max Prudencio Jr., BFAR information officer, said that as early as 2000, the local government came up with its Basic Municipal Fisheries Ordinance (BMFO) localizing Republic Act No. 8550 known as the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998.
Prudencio explained that the BMFO included provisions for the classification of municipal waters and foreshore areas including the declaration of Municipal Sanctuaries and establishment of Closed Fishing Season.
The BMFO also includes provisions on the protection of corals, ban on catching juvenile fisheries resources, grant of fishing privileges, fishery licenses and permits, regulations on aquaculture, creation of the Municipal Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council (MFARMC), and prohibitions and penalties.
The local government also enacted other ordinances tackling specific fisheries-related issues with the formation of Municipal Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management (MFARMC), which has greatly aided in the implementation of its fisheries laws and programs.
“In fact, in recognition of its outstanding accomplishments, the Claveria-MFARMC was adjudged Second Best MFARMC and Best MFARMC nationwide under Gawad Saka Awards for the period 2011-2013,” Prudencio said.
In 2007-2014, Claveria was included as one of the project sites of the Asian Development Bank–funded and Department of Environmental and Natural Resources–led special project, which is the Integrated Coastal Resources Management Project.
With these mechanisms, the municipality has conducted mangrove reforestation, formation of fisherfolk associations, provision of alternative livelihood to ease fishing pressure, policy and institutional strengthening, biodiversity conservation and improvement of social and environmental service and facilities.
“Due to various interventions, fish catch in the municipality has increased in sizes, as determined thru the National Stock Assessment Program of BFAR,” Prudencio said.
?Even before the launching of the FishR & BoatR [fisherfolk, fishing gear and fishing boat registration] programs, Claveria had already in place such a mechanism in accordance with its BMFO.
?Proper numbering and color-coding of fishing boats is observed. In recognition to its outstanding implementation of BoatR, Claveria was included in the first 100 municipalities nationwide to complete their BoatR in 2016,? Prudencio said.
Even before the launching of the FishR & BoatR [fisherfolk, fishing gear and fishing boat registration] programs, Claveria had already in place such a mechanism in accordance with its BMFO.
“Proper numbering and color-coding of fishing boats is observed. In recognition to its outstanding implementation of BoatR, Claveria was included in the first 100 municipalities nationwide to complete their BoatR in 2016,” Prudencio said.
Also, a program to empower women fisher folk has resulted in the increase in income from fishing and reduction of illegal fishing practices. The municipality was also awarded a number of “NEGOcart” and capital that were given to the wives of fishermen, for the selling of fish and other food items.