Picture of Rommel Hallares
Immediate passage of Department of Fisheries urged
by Rommel Hallares - Saturday, 12 December 2020, 08:01 AM
PNA: December 9, 2020, 7:48 pm

MANILA – Agricultural stakeholders are urging Congress for the early passage of the creation of Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DFAR).

At present, there are 19 proposed measures pending at the House of Representatives and three in the Senate for the DFAR creation.

Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar, in previous statement, said the creation of a separate Department for fisheries and aquatic resources was to institutionalize the sector's management areas using science-based methodologies.

Dar stressed the need to boost Philippine agriculture by making the sector more productive, competitive, sustainable, resilient, and inclusive.

He said the creation of a DFAR that will be independent of the DA will give more attention to and support for the sustainable development of the country's fisheries and aquatic resources.

The proposals are aligned with Dar’s eight paradigms of the "new thinking" for agriculture, which includes modernization and industrialization, among other crucial elements in sectoral transformation.

Dar said there is an urgent need to create the Department of Fisheries to arrest the progressive decline of fish catch of both municipal and commercial fishers, and to protect and rehabilitate the country's coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass and algae beds, which are essential for fish population to grow.

"We need to have the appropriate fisheries policies, management systems and institutions in place. Additional efforts to strengthen the management capabilities of LGUs (local government units), NGOs (non-government organizations), and local communities whose participation and cooperation are pivotal in natural resources management," he said.

Former Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) director Asis Perez, convenor of Tugon Kabuhayan, said the need to sustain and improve the supply of Filipino’s protein requirements is enough to justify the immediate need to create a separate DFAR.

“We want to emphasize the fact that it is important to create a separate department for fisheries just from the viewpoint of our protein requirement,” Perez said in a virtual briefing on Monday.

Based on the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data, Perez said, it shows that the total animal protein requirement is 57 kilograms per capita per year. Of that, 37 kilograms come from fish. The requirement for other meat (such as pork and chicken) is just 20 kilograms.

Perez also said the creation of DFAR will not cost a lot on the part of the government because BFAR already has an existing structure and personnel.

“The cost will not exceed more than PHP2 billion to establish the department,” he said. "What will happen now is that DFAR will be able to create separate bureaus that will focus on capture and aquaculture, protection and enforcement, post-harvest and marketing, and international affairs. It will function like DA on the operational level. It will have regional directors."

The Philippines is considered a highly-biodiversed country being at the center of the Coral Triangle, which has now been recognized as the global center for marine biodiversity. (PR)

Online: 0 Messages: 0
You are not logged in. (Login)