Amended Fisheries Code Becomes Law in the Philippines
Republic Act 10654, which amends the Philippine Fisheries Code, became law in February 2015 after Philippine President Benigno Simeon Aquino III allowed amendments to the 1998 Philippine Fisheries Code to lapse into law — a deliberate inaction in the Philippines that allows items to become law. Under RA 10654, which cracks down on illegal fishing and helps rebuild fisheries, sanctions have been raised to as high as $45 million (PHP) for commercial fishing violators and $2.4 million (PHP) for poachers. Additionally, the amendments call for the installation of a Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) system on all flagged Philippine fishing vessels that help identify commercial vessels operating illegally in Philippine waters, and call for it to be unlawful to intentionally tamper with, switch off or disable the vessel monitoring system.. By passing these amendments, the Philippines avoided penalties by the European Union for failing to meet its standards on sustainable fishing practices.
Oceana Kicks Off Operations in the Philippines By Hosting Fisheries Conference
Oceana kicked off its operations in the Philippines by hosting a conference, “The Road to Sustainable Fisheries Governance,” to discuss various perspectives on fisheries in the Philippines. Stakeholders from the government, the justice system, academia, and more gathered for two days to discuss challenges, impacts, and proposals on fisheries management, as well as share best practices in sustainable fisheries governance and effective law enforcement. Oceana vice president Atty. Gloria “Golly” Estenzo Ramos spoke at the conference, and will lead Oceana’s work in the Philippines to help rebuild the nation’s fisheries in partnership with native Filipinos. Other speakers at the conference included Oceana’s chief scientist and strategy officer Dr. Mike Hirshfield, Oceana board member Dr. Daniel Pauly, and The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources National director Atty. Asis Perez.