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Marcos told: Reject calls to suspend BFAR Vessel Monitoring System

Digital Pinoys

A network of digital advocates urged President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. to order the implementation of the Fisheries Administrative Order 266 (FAO 266) which aims to implement a vessel monitoring system (VMS), as it is important for the sustainability of marine life and livelihood of fisherfolks.

Digital Pinoys national campaigner Ronald Gustilo said that the VMS program should push through as it will be more beneficial to the public, especially those whose livelihood is from the seas.

“We urge the President to immediately order the implementation of the VMS program as it will help address the long running problem of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing which causes disruptions in our fish supply. The VMS program will be able to trace the location of fishing vessels at sea, which will also be a layer of protection in case any untoward incident may occur while at sea. The location logs of ships will show the ship’s location in case it gets involved in an accident, making search and rescue easier for emergency responders.”

Gustilo added that the implementation of VMS will make fishing more sustainable as it will detect ships operating illegally and unregulated.

“VMS is a tool for surveillance and monitoring of ships engaged in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, which causes major disruptions in the natural life cycle of fishes which causes the price of fish products to increase way beyond than what the public can afford. It’s also a tool to protect the marginalized fisherfolk families relying on the adequacy of fish supply. It’s a lifeline to address the wanton destruction of our marine environment.”

Gustilo added that the introduction of radar technology to boost the capability of BFAR and other agencies involved in ensuring that the fisheries code is followed to the dot is a welcome development and is widely supported, specially by sectors affected by illegal fishing activities.

“The FAO 266 is a good development as it aims to regulate the unregulated, unsustainable and often destructive method of fishing by some commercial vessels who exhausts and exploits our fisheries and marine resources. Commercial Fishing vessels that illegally swarm municipal waters are the usual complaints of this project. The government should not only turn a deaf ear on them, but also investigate and prosecute them if they are involved in the destruction of our sea resources and disruption of the livelihood of small fishermen and their families. The government’s goal on this matter should always be the protection of our marine food source and the livelihood of our marginalized fisherfolks.”

Reference: Ronald Gustilo, Digital Pinoys National Campaigner, [email protected]