The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) urged the local government units (LGUs) on Monday to support the operation of the 12 Fisheries Management Areas (FMAs) in the country.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año issued the call specifically to the localities lying near the coastal areas.
He explained that the FMA is a spatial delineation of Philippine waters as a means to manage fisheries at an appropriate scale.
Año noted that the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has established 12 FMAs composed of contiguous regions which share the same coasts.
The DILG chief also emphasized that the preservation and management of aquatic resources, including coastal and fisheries, like other functions of the government, must not cease despite the COVID-19 crisis.
Año said the LGUs should lead in the management of shared coasts and ocean for the benefit of all.
“The establishment of FMAs is provided by law and it is the enshrined mandate of LGUs to protect and preserve our natural resources, including all coastal areas,” Año said.
The Department of Agriculture had earlier issued Fisheries Administrative Order (DA FAO) No. 263, s. 2019 which pushes for the creation of FMAs that are fully functional and supervised by a governing body.
In support of the DA directive, Año issued DILG Memorandum Circular 2020-121 directing LGUs to be part of the multi-sectoral Management Board and to work with other sectors in ensuring that the shared resources and fish stocks within the FMAs are properly managed.
Año said that “one or more local chief executive (LCE) of LGUs shall co-chair the said management board, together with the BFAR Regional Fisheries Office.’’
“Aquatic and fisheries resources are aspects of local governance that demand LGUs’ attention and with a representative from the LGUs in the FMA Management Board,’’ he added.
“Regional composition of the 12 FMAs are as follows: Regions 2, 3, 4A, and 5 for FMA 1; Regions 8, 13 and 11 for FMA 2; Regions 12, 9 and BARMM for FMA 3; Regions 6, 7, 9, and BARMM for FMA 4; Regions 4B and 6 for FMA 5; Regions 1, 3, 4A, 4B and NCR for FMA 6; Regions 4A, 5, and 8 for FMA 7; Regions 8 and 13 for FMA 8; Regions 7, 8, 9, 10, and 13 for FMA 9; Regions 7, and 8 for FMA 10; Regions 5, 6, 7, and 8 for FMA 11; and, Regions 4A, 4B, 5, and 6 for FMA 12,’’ the DILG said.
Año also urged LGUs to participate in the development of the FMA Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) Plan or EAFM Framework.
He said that this will lay down the policies and strategic actions of the FMA to be implemented by the LGUs and BFAR field offices within the FMA.