ALARMING and disturbing are reports that illegal fishing remains a major headache of the authorities in some parts of the Philippines.
This, despite the government’s serious campaign against illegal fishing activities, like dynamite and cyanide fishing, throughout the country.
It is heartening to note, however, that the Department of Agriculture (DA) is set to fight illegal fishing with a “shame campaign.”
Under the campaign, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, a former newspaperman, said coastal towns with persistent reports of illegal fishing activities will be named.
Piñol said the significant decline of fish catch in a span of four years (2012-16) is alarming in this country, where millions of Filipinos depend on fishing for their cash and livelihood.
Take the case of the Port of Dalahican in Lucena City. During the four-year period, total fish catch delivered to said port was reduced from five million kilos to just one million kilos.
Port Manager Jose Abarquez explained that one of the factors in the decline was the destruction of many fishing boats in 2014, when Typhoon Glenda battered the country. This prompted some fishermen to turn to farming.
The sportswriter-turned-public servant, a product of the University of the East, met recently with the country’s fish industry stakeholders to discuss the problems confronting them.
After the meeting, Piñol said he will ask President Duterte to suspend mayors and barangay chairmen who fail to stop illegal fishing activities in their respective communities.
It’s time to hit hard at all those involved in illegal fishing.
Pati na ’yong mga nasyonal at lokal na lingkod-bayan na walang ginawa para patigilin ang iligal na pangingisda.