Año urges LGUs to be on guard vs municipal water encroachers

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) urged local government units (LGUs) to enhance the management of their municipal waters amid reports revealing a high incidence of possible encroachments of commercial fishing vessels through the use of Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) technology.

DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that since the localities are at the forefront of ensuring food security, especially during the time of the pandemic, LGUs should also take the lead in protecting municipal waters and local aquatic resources through law enforcement against illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing

“This enables LGUs to ensure sufficient local food supply sourced from municipal waters, manage their local food supply chains and bring markets closer to people, and ensure the continued livelihood of fisherfolk and other communities benefiting from local aquatic resources,” Año said.

The DILG chief also stressed the need to establish harvest control rules (HCR) and other measures that the LGUs can use as reference in enforcing regulatory measures for the sustainable use of fishery resources.

He noted that the assessment of the quality of municipal water resources and establishment of fish catch documentation will further allow LGUs to monitor the abundance or depletion of their resources.

Año pointed out that the municipal fishers also need technical and capacity assistance on sustainable fishing practices as well as upgrading of vessels and equipment.

Implementing the Fisheries Code

DILG Assistant Secretary for Special Concerns-Local Government Sector Atty. Odilon L. Pasaraba shared how the department enjoined the LGUs to sustain the performance of its mandates under the Fisheries Code.

He said that the DILG “continues to enhance FishCA through a validation procedure that will be undertaken in cooperation with various government agencies such as the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Department of the Environment and Natural Resources, and partner NGOs (non-government organizations).’’

“This has already been pilot-tested in the Manila Bay area and is currently being assessed or studied if it can be implemented nationwide,” Pasaraba said during the Presidential Communications Operations Office’s Virtual Presser with the National Task Force for the WPS recently.

Pasaraba said that the DILG has continuously enjoined the LGUs to mainstream coastal resource management in their local development plans that will map and guide the LGUs on their commitments to the management of municipal waters based on their technical and institutional capacity.

“The management of municipal waters is vital in food security and ensuring the livelihood of small scale fishers and sustainable use of resources for the succeeding generations,” he added.