July 01, 2011
BFAR hails partner agencies in its 64th anniversary
Following the seizure of largest consignment of banned black corals and threatened shells and clams in Zamboanga City last June 3 and 4, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) recognized its partner agencies in an austere but memorable celebration of its 64th anniversary at the PCA auditorium in Quezon City yesterday.
BFAR Dir. Asis G. Perez said that the successful operation will not be possible without the support and collaboration of the Philippine National Police, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Criminal and Investigation and Detection Group as well as the local government of Zamboanga City .
As of press time, a criminal case had been filed in court by Dir. Perez against Olivia Li and Li Yu Ming believed to be the owners and other individuals in cohort with the Chinese couple for violation of (a) Section 97, Republic Act No. 8550 otherwise known as the “Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998”, and Fisheries Administrative Order No. 208 s. 2001 relating to the “Conservation of Rare, Threatened and Endangered Species”; Section 91, RA No. 8550 and FAO No. 202 s. 2000, relating to the “Ban on Coral Exploitation and Exportation”, and (c) FAO No. 158 s. 1986, relating to the “Prohibition on the gathering, taking, collecting, selling, transporting, or possession for sale of mollusks belonging to the Genus Triton or Charonia and Cassis”
Fisheries program thrusts
Perez also presented his five program guideposts which focus on increasing fish production through resource conservation, intensifying fishery resource protection and law enforcement, fast-tracking infrastructure development, investing on people, research and technology and facilitating fisheries industry development.
He said that his administration will build upon the many good things that had been established by the BFAR considering its major contribution to the growth of the country’s agriculture sector.
However, he said, that this time he would put more focused on resource conservation and protection as well as in the enforcement of fishery laws and regulations.
“It is so sad that for an archipelagic country like the Philippines, whose coastline is second largest in the world, has only a measly P4.9M budget for its resource protection program”, he said.
The BFAR is currently beefing up its resource protection capability through the creation of the Fisheries Resource Protection and Quick Response Unit that will be on duty 24/7 to address the issues of illegal fishing and other emergency situations like the fish kills.
Perez stressed that closer collaboration and linkage shall be established between the law enforcement agencies, the DENR and the local government units in order to curb illegal fishing which destroys the very source of income of marginal fishing communities.
“We shall put an end to the finger-pointing syndrome whenever aquatic environment-related emergency situations occur. We shall be more pro-active and prepared by fostering cooperation and wide information campaign.
He said that the agency also looks forward the planting of 100 million mangrove trees in the next three years. With the mangrove areas, the BFAR intends to promote aquasilvi or mangrove-friendly fish farming system to fisherfolk communities.
Infrastructural and other support facilities will also be established such as multi-species hatcheries, nurseries to supply the necessary inputs like blue crabs, abalone, sea cucumber and sea urchins to aqua-silvi farmers and also to fish cage operators in mariculture parks.
Post-harvest facilities shall also be put-up and the pre-requisites of food safety and quality shall be institutionalized from the farm to table to gain market confidence.