By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Tuesday said it would use light planes as “guardians of the sea” to help the government monitor illegal fishing activities in Philippine seas.
Agriculture 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 February 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 would 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 would not affect their livelihood as they could 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.
Tags: Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, DA would use light planes to help monitor illegal fishing in PH seas, Department of Agriculture, Department of Agriculture Secretary, fishing season, illegal fishing, light planes, Manila Bulletin, Manny Piñol, Philippine Coast Guard, Visayan Sea, Zamboanga Peninsula