Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol has ordered the creation of an anti-illegal fishing task force in the West Philippine Sea, following reports of illegal activities in the area.
Piñol instructed Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) national director Eduardo Gongona to lead the West Philippine Sea Anti-Illegal Fishing Task Force that will monitor illegal fishing activities in the Sea.
“BFAR welcomes the Secretary’s order to protect the country’s marine environments. The bureau will utilize its resources to ensure we carry out his directive and enforce Philippine fishing laws,” Gongona said.
Piñol gave the directive during the fiberglass boat distribution in South Poblacion, Masinloc, where the DA Secretary met with 200 fisherfolk from different municipalities in Zambales.
The fisherfolk told Piñol about the illegal and unsustainable fishing practices, which continue to hound the municipal fisherfolk. Among these are blast fishing and entry of suspected foreign poachers.
A group of fisherfolk asked the Secretary “to apply the full force of law” to those who were apprehended.
They also requested radio communication apparatus to be set up on their boats so they would be able to report violations to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG). (Ellalyn B. de Vera)