Oceana's New Year Statement - Oceana Philippines
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Oceana’s New Year Statement

Press Release Date: January 1, 2024

We wish everyone a peaceful, meaningful and joyous New Year.

We are filled with hope for visions to become actions that benefit both our planet and our people, especially those who need them most.

As the largest international organization focused exclusively on restoring the world’s oceans, Oceana looks at 2024 as especially significant.

We are celebrating in the Philippines 10 years of dedicated advocacy work, ocean victories and milestones, and strong collaboration with national agencies, local authorities, artisanal fisherfolk and communities, scientists, lawyers, and civil society organizations determined to have more fish in our seas and tables and protecting and restoring marine habitats and resources, amid the climate, fisheries and biodiversity crises that threaten our survival.

2014 was the year when one of the biggest buyers for Philippines’ fish and fish products, the European Union, slapped a yellow card warning because of its assessment that our government was not doing enough to stop, deter and fight illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Congress readily responded with reforming the antiquated Fisheries Code with a bill which became a law, RA 10654, in February 2015.

Coincidentally, Oceana launched its Philippines office in November 2014 with a two-day workshop on the theme “The road to sustainable fisheries governance.” It was participated by 100 stakeholders representing the public, civil society and private sectors. It was a big honor to have Daniel Pauly, an Oceana Board member and multi-awarded and most cited fisheries scientist in the world, as Keynote Speaker. He presented the global study that the world fish catch data is higher and declining much faster than what FAO data suggest. He noted that in the Philippines, much of the data from small scale fishing is not included in estimating fish catch.

Then Director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Asis Peres, in his message, tackled government efforts in combatting IUU fishing including proposals for stiff penalties for violators under the bill then deliberated in Congress as well as effective enforcement mechanisms.

Looking back, we proved our capacity to respond to the looming crisis with focus and determination. Reforms are slowly but surely in place. But the test is in the collective action to make the Law an effective tool for changing behaviors, and replace arbitrariness with science as basis for decision-making, to save our ocean and feed our people.

RA 10654, with its strong measures for transparency, participatory and evidence-based management, once fully implemented will help rebuild our fisheries and enhance the well-being of our citizens.

Here are some of our wish lists for 2024:

  1. The science-based and inclusive Fisheries Management Areas (FMA) System is strengthened with budgetary support for each of the 12 FMAs and full engagement of local authorities, national agencies, sectoral representatives, and civil society.
  2. No one is left behind, including those in the 3 branches of government where there is still lack of appreciation and a sense of urgency for action in stemming the existentialist issues humanity is facing because of our own doing and are inter-related such as climate change, pollution, degradation of our natural life support systems, deepening poverty and displacements of communities.
  3. More spirited engagements of our citizens in decision-making at all levels – whether social, economic and political – guaranteed as a right by the highest law of the land, our Constitution.
  4. For the business sector to mainstream environmental protection as a core value in their operations.
  5. For our small-scale fisherfolk and our youth to believe that the sustainable future is in their hands.

We look forward to a strengthened partnership where our time, talent, energy and resources are dedicated to restoring and rehabilitating fisheries and marine habitats, and which enhance livelihoods, honor and dignity of our coastal communities.

It is time likewise to sanction irresponsible behaviors that have plundered and destroyed our seas for so long – at the expense of the right to a healthy, safe and resilient environment for all.



Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one-quarter of the world’s wild fish catch. With more than 275 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, oil and plastic pollution, and the killing of threatened species like turtles, whales, and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that 1 billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal, every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. Visit Oceana.org and ph.oceana.org to learn more.


For More Information:

Joyce Sierra, Communications Manager, Oceana 

Mobile: 09178214430 E-mail: jsierra@oceana.org 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/oceana.philippines

Twitter: @oceana_ph Instagram: @oceana_ph