The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is working double-time with the sector for the creation of a five-year national fisheries plan, launched in February.
In a statement, BFAR National Director and Agriculture Undersecretary Asis Perez said the Comprehensive National Fisheries Industry Development Plan 2016-2020 would help create a more globally competitive Philippine fisheries sector in the next five years.
“With a plan crafted by the stakeholders for the fisheries industry through participatory approach,” Perez said, adding that the master plan will help promote optimal development and long-term sustainability of the fisheries and aquatic resources.
The agency is set to launch the development plan during the first National Fisheries Industry Summit at the Philippine Trade Training Center in Pasay City, back to back with the National Bangus Congress.
The government envisions the five-year fisheries industry plan to be “a product of consensus-building via three-part series of fisheries stakeholders’ workshops in capture fisheries, aquaculture, post-harvest and, marketing subsectors.”
With the inclusive plan, BFAR got a higher budget of P6.7 billion this year from last year’s P6.3 billion.
Perez said the funds would be for tailor-fitted livelihood programs and projects for the fisheries sector.
“On top of the priority projects for this year is the completion of more than 500 Community Fish Landing Centers (CFLCs) in strategic coastal communities to reduce fisheries post-harvest losses from 25 percent to 18 percent, or even lower,” the official said.
The community centers are aimed at improving the socio-economic conditions of fisherfolk communities with high poverty incidence.
Since its launching in 2013, BFAR’s National Program for Municipal Fisherfolk Registration or FishR has registered over 1.6 million municipal fisherfolk to date, from 50,000 fisherfolk.
An offshoot of the FishR program, the on-going National Program for Municipal Fishing Vessels and Gears Registration or BoatR has already registered over 138,000 municipal fishing vessels.
Perez said the creation of both fisheries registries is based on the premise that what gets measured gets managed.
Taking off from last year’s increase in the overall fisheries production by 1.80 percent during the third quarter owing to the continued rise in tuna production, the bureau aims to further achieve good performance both in fisheries production as well as in the management of the country’s aquatic resources.
Waging an all-out war against illegal and unregulated fishing, BFAR now has 240 fisheries law enforcers deployed in the country’s major fishing grounds.
BFAR is filling in a total of 700 law enforcers to patrol and protect against this.