MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued stern warnings to 20 local government units (LGUs) for illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUUF).
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año also reminded the 20 LGUs “to exercise their mandate and responsibilities, under the Philippine Fisheries Code” and to inform the DILG about the number of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing committed within their jurisdictions or face administrative sanctions.
“Despite the pandemic, we want to remind LGUs of the protection of our aquatic resources which, unfortunately, is still an issue in the country,” he said.
“Para sa 20 pamahalaang lokal na ito na ating pinadalhan ng warning, mahigpit ang ating paalala na pangalagaan ang ating mga karagatan,” he added.
Año stressed that IUUF can cause a serious decline in fisheries resources, and can negatively impact food security and livelihood of coastal communities and fisherfolk thus it has to be closely monitored by the LGUs.
Using the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) technology, a satellite that can detect artificial light sources or superlight, the highest number of IUUF violations were registered in the following areas:
Tongkil, Sulu (2,549)
Zamboanga City, Zamboanga Del Sur (2,446)
Milagros, Masbate (1,595)
Cawayan, Masbate (1,350)
San Pascual, Masbate (1,193)
Languyan, Tawi-tawi (1,057)
Calauag, Quezon (1,009)
Hadji Mohammad Ajul, Basilan (973)
Linapacan, Palawan (959)
Carles, Iloilo (762)
Also included in the top 20 LGUs are Cuyo, Palawan; Santa Cruz, Marinduque; Madridejos, Cebu; Coron, Palawan; San Jose, Occidental Mindoro; Taytay, Palawan; Magsaysay, Palawan; Catbalogan City, Samar; Cavite City, Cavite; and, Quezon, Quezon.
According to Año, the LGUs that received warnings are the top 20 with the highest number of violation on the use of superlight and other artificial light sources which is used to attract fishes during nighttime.
The use of these artificial light sources is prohibited under Section 98 of the Republic Act No. 8550, as amended by Republic Act No. 10654 or the Philippines Fisheries Code of 1998.
The DILG Chief urged LGUs to implement DILG Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2018-59 which requires LGUs to regulate and monitor fisheries activities and strictly enforce the provisions of the amended Fisheries Code.
He assured that the DILG, through its Fisheries Compliance Audit (FishCA), is committed to monitoring LGUs’ fulfillment of responsibilities under the code and emphasizes the need for effective management of municipal waters for biodiversity conservation and food security.