MANILA – Over 800 coastal local government units (LGUs) have so far submitted their reports on the Fisheries Compliance Audit (FishCA) this year, an official of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said on Friday.
During the virtual presser with the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS), DILG Assistant Secretary Odilon Pasaraba said this is equivalent to a 91 percent compliance rate or 864 out of 947 coastal LGUs nationwide.
“We recommend this for fishermen's compliance. following the law and strengthening law enforcement against illegal, imported, and unregulated fishing, the establishment of harvest control rules, and other measures that the LGUs can follow as a reference in enforcing regulatory measures for sustainable use of fishery resources. Maganda din na we have to institutionalize the assessment of the quality of municipal watery resources and the establishment of fish catch documentation which will allow LGUs to monitor the abundance or the depletion of their resources,” Pasaraba said.
The FishCA is a monitoring tool used by the DILG since 2018 to assess the level of compliance of LGUs with the provisions of the Fisheries Code.
It focuses on the enabling institutional mechanisms that will allow LGUs to perform their functions better in the management of municipal waters.
Pasaraba said through FishCA, the DILG has assessed the capacity of the town of Kalayaan in Palawan to manage its municipal waters and aquatic resources.
Among key findings yielded by the audit is that the town is able to register fisherfolk, cooperatives, non-government organizations, vessels, and gears; establish fish landing sites and ice plants, provide technical support to local fishers and create a Municipal Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Management Council (FARMC).
“Ito 'yung ginagawa ng (This is what is being done by the) DA (Department of Agriculture) and BFAR (Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources) and other NGOs provision or strengthening the provision of support to municipal fishers that at least ensure their preferential rights to use the municipal waters, provision of technical, capacity assistance on sustainable fishing practices and upgrading all vessels,” he added.
Pasaraba said the LGUs have an important role in contributing to the "ecosystem approach" on fisheries management through coordination with the BFAR in the programs, strategies, and initiatives that are based on science and research to ensure the sustainable and effective management of resources.
He also said with enhanced monitoring of LGU compliance, they are able to overcome challenges in the management of municipal waters. (PNA)