Fishers decry 'repressive' Fisheries Law

Published November 20, 2021, 11:29 AM

by Manila Bulletin

Members of the fisher’s group PAMALAKAYA push for their rights and stood against RA 10654 at the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources on Friday, Nov. 19. (Photo from PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas)

The members of fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) have decried the “repressive” Fisheries Law, in a protest rally in front of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) office in Quezon City on Friday, Nov. 19.

“Remember the fishers who used to share surplus catch community pantries? They are currently here at BFAR to protest the repressive Fisheries Law,” said the PAMALAKAYA on its official Facebook page.

During the implementation of stricter community quarantine to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), PAMALAKAYA said the group donated surplus freshly-caught fish to help those in need.

The group pointed out that the “repressive” Fisheries Law sweepingly categorizes the fisherfolk’s traditional sweeping methods as “illegal,” subjecting them to hefty lines and penalties.

“The Fisher’s Code imposes unjust fishing restrictions versus small fishers including boat registration with fees and setting a standard fishing gear,” it claimed.

The group also reported that the fisherfolk who are unable to comply are subjected to hefty fines of P2,500 as well as confiscation of fish catch and gear.

Republic Act 10654 or the Philippine Fisheries Code, which was enacted in 1988, aims to deter and eliminate illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in the country. (Charie Mae F. Abarca)