Home » News » News Roundup » Light planes eyed vs illegal fishing

Light planes eyed vs illegal fishing


The Department of Agriculture (DA) yesterday said it would engage light planes as “guardians of the sea” to help the government monitor the country’s seas from illegal fishing activities.

DA Secretary Manny Piñol said the light planes can help the fishing boats of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in monitoring the seas, particularly those with existing fishing ban.

BFAR has just implemented a three-month closed season for commercial fishing of mackerel, sardine, and herring in Zamboanga Peninsula and Visayan Sea, which will end on Feb. 15, 2018.

It is being implemented to secure the spawning period of pelagic fishes in the sea and continuously implement measures to address illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Piñol said the department is seeking the help of air asset companies owning Cessna planes to serve as guardians of the sea.

He added that the planes will be equipped with cameras and computers to monitor illegal fishing activities and to allow the immediate response of the Philippine Coast Guard.

The DA chief said the closed fishing season is expected to give a positive result in increasing the population of mackerel, sardine and herring in the ocean, particularly in Zamboanga Peninsula and Visayan Sea.

He also assured small fisherfolk that the fishing ban will not affect their livelihood as they can still catch fish through handline fishing, noting that fisherfolk in Moro Gulf catch an average of 30-40 tuna every day.

“We have to look at the long-term effect of the fishing ban to conserve and preserve our aquatic resources. If we don’t implement these measures, we will end up overfishing the ocean,” Piñol said.