Fisheries champions will hold a Sustainable Fisheries Summit on October 19-20, 2015 at the Walter Hogan Conference Center of the Institute of Social Order at the Ateneo de Manila University.
The gathering is aimed to highlight and celebrate the amended Republic Act 10654, or the Philippine Fisheries Code, which they said would improve productivity of Philippine seas.
Intended to make fisherfolk organizations, as well as stakeholders from public and private sectors, aware of the changes in the law, the set summit was organized by the ECOFISH Project, Greenpeace Philippines, Haribon, Institute of Social Order, NGOs for Fisheries Reform, Oceana Philippines, PAKISAMA, PANGISDA, PKSK National Union of Rural Based Organizations, Tambuyog Development Center and World Wildlife Fund.
Last September, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala signed the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the amended fisheries code. The IRR is expected to take effect this month.
Passed on February 2015, RA 10654 amends the nation’s 17-year-old fisheries code, by seeking to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
The new law allows the country’s fisheries code to be aligned with international commitments, imposes higher fines for violations, and highlights the need for better fish catch traceability systems.
It also establishes a framework for improved fisheries governance that sets fish yield limits through harvest control rules, while requiring vessel monitoring measures to track and monitor the behavior of fishing vessels.
“This is an important milestone for all municipal fishers and marine conservationists, as well as fisheries NGOs that have been working for decades to ensure our fish resources are used wisely for long-term food security and ensure the economic prosperity of coastal communities,” the group said.
The fisheries champions also lauded the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources for “being inclusive in pushing the passage of the law.”
“Now is the time to inform and raise awareness among our small-scale fishers and to ensure that RA 10654 will be strongly enforced, especially in remote areas, which host the greatest concentrations of fish,” said the summit’s organizers.