ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Environmental lawyers threaten to sue BFAR on unimplemented Fisheries Code
An organization of environmental lawyers is now pushing for the government to fully implement the implementing rules of the amended Fisheries Code, or else it would resort to legal action.
The Philippine Earth Justice Center (PEJC) said on Monday it is considering filing charges against the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) should it fail to implement the amended Fisheries Code.
“We will resort to legal remedies if BFAR fails to promulgate necessary rules for the effective implementation of the amended Fisheries Code,” it said in an emailed statement.
“The agency had not done so, to date, except for the rules on the administrative adjudication.”
The Fisheries Code of the Philippines was amended under Republic Act 10654 on September 22, 2015. The amendments were supposed to include provisions regulating the management of waters within a timeframe.
The PEJC said the following should have been promulgated within a year from October 2015:
Determine the Target Reference Points, Limit Reference Points and Harvest Control Rules
Determine Regulation for Fishing Gear Registration and Licensing
Determine rules on importation, construction of new fishing vessels and conversion of other vessels
Develop guidelines for municipal catch documentation system
Determine appropriate limits for super lights and fishing light attractors in all fishing grounds
Formulate rules governing the capture of fishes, including live fish trade in municipal waters
Promulgate rules for Vessel Monitoring Measures
“Our fisheries are in dire need of drastic measures to curtail overfishing and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing which have led to the imperiled state of our primary food source,” PEJC managing trustee Rose Liza Eisma Osorio said.
“The failure of BFAR to address our need to ensure food security for our country by protecting our oceans from further destruction and the depletion of our marine resources cannot be ignored,” she said.
Osorio also emphasized that the PEJC will file charges should the government fail to implement the amended Fisheries Code.
“We will resort to availing ourselves of legal remedies should our government agencies continue to fail in fulfilling their mandates,” she said.
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