The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) urged local government units (LGUs) to improve their management of municipal waters and assured them of its support in protecting local waters and aquatic resources in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said based on the results of the Department’s Fisheries Compliance Audit (FishCA), which monitors the LGUs’ enforcement of and compliance with Republic Act 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998, LGUs need to continuously improve their management of municipal waters.
He said for instance, some of the DILG’s partner non-government organizations (NGOs) have reported a high incidence of possible encroachments of commercial fishing vessels in municipal waters through the use of Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) technology.
He said since LGUs are “at the forefront of ensuring food security, especially during the time of the pandemic,” the Department is committed to capacitate coastal LGUs for transparent and participatory management of municipal waters, in compliance with national fisheries laws.
“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 benefitting from local aquatic resources,” he said a news release on Sunday.
Año also said there is a 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.
The assessment of the quality of municipal water resources and establishment of fish catch documentation, he said, will further allow LGUs to monitor the abundance or depletion of their resources.
Año said municipal fishers also need technical and capacity assistance on sustainable fishing practices as well as upgrading of vessels and equipment.