BFAR enforces month-long seaborne ops in Visayan Sea

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The Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) caps off its month-long seaborne mission in the Visayan Sea during a culmination ceremony on May 6, 2019 at Culasi Port in Roxas City, Capiz.

From April 1 to April 30 this year, DA-BFAR’s law enforcement personnel from regions 5, 6 and 7 have teamed up with the Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine National Police-Maritime Group to safeguard and patrol the Visayan Sea and its adjacent waters against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities.

DA-BFAR’s national director Eduardo Gongona directs these efforts as part of the government’s pledge to achieve food security which can only happen when the seas are free from destructive activities.

“We are all aware that IUU fishing undermines the sustainability of our marine resources. Through this intensified seaborne operations to enforce fishery laws, we will be able to bring back sustainability and improve our fisheries production,” he said.

DA-BFAR utilized two 30-meter MCS Patrol Vessels and one 50-meter Multi-Mission Offshore Vessel during sea operations across the 14, 000 square kilometer-vast Visayan Sea. Reports from BFAR offices in regions 5, 6 and 7 recorded a total of 30 violators where common violations include unathorized fishing, unreported and unregulated fishing, use of active gear in municipal waters, ban on destructive gears, use of unlicensed gear and employment of unlicensed fishworkers.

The agency notes a decrease in the number of apprehensions which the DA-BFAR chief attributes to the incessant efforts of the government’s law enforcement entities.

“Based on the data we gathered from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite or VIIRS Night Light Boat Detection, there was a noted decrease in the number of vessels detected in the Visayan Sea from March to April, which may mean illegal fishing activities inside the municipal waters were deterred with the presence of our vessels in the Visayan Sea,” Gongona said. BFAR