The Supreme Court (SC) has issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against an earlier decision of a lower court prohibiting the implementation of Fisheries Administrative Order (FAO) 246, which bans the use of “hulbot-hulbot” or Danish Seine in Philippine waters.
In a resolution, the SC granted the petition of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to stop the Malabon Regional Trial Court from enforcing its decision stopping the implementation of FAO 246.
“We are pleased with the Supreme Court’s Order as this upholds the implementation of FAO 246 which is a result of the consensus by multi-sector policy-making body in response to the clamor of concerned stakeholders, who rallied against the destruction hulbot-hulbot is bringing to our marine resources,” BFAR national director Asis Perez said.
Danish Seine is an active fishing gear which 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 a herding device. Once the fishing gear succeeds in herding fish it is hauled using manpower or a mechanical winch.
However, the use of the said fishing gear has been seen to contribute to the destruction of marine habitats and other fishery resources, in contravention of Section 92 of Republic Act 8550 or the Fisheries Code of the Philippines. The said provision prohibits the use of any fishing gear that destroys coral reefs, seagrass beds, and other fishery marine life habitats.
Fisherfolk groups and associations, meanwhile, lauded the SC for the issuance of the TRO. For one, Gilberto Entoma, a representative of the small-scale fisheries sector in the National Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council, said that the move serves not only the interests of small fisherfolk, but also the interests of the fisheries sector in general.