Friends and Colleagues,
February 2012 will be the 14th year of implementation of Republic Act 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998. After more than a decade, the Philippine fisheries finds itself in a crisis. We find our major fishing grounds beyond their sustainable limits. Consequently, more than a million fisherfolks are adversely affected. The failure to arrest the steady decline of fisheries in the Philippines are attributed to several factors like unabated illegal fishing, unregulated use of highly efficient fishing gears, virtual privatization and commercialization of coastal resources and increase in fishing pressure brought about by increase in population living in coastal areas, among others. But the failure of the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) to acknowledge and publicly declare that the Philippine fisheries is in crisis contributed significantly on this. Without the recognition of the issue on overfishing, we could not develop fisheries management tools that fit and work in the Philippines. It is time to act. We need to increase the awareness of the general public. We need for them to understand that unless our government properly address the issue on overfishing, there will come a time when we could not put fish on the table.
Thus, we are asking for your support. As part of our campaign, we wanted to use the social media as a tool to raise our concern. We wanted you to be one of our fisheries warriors. Attached is a poster bearing the call ‘The Philippine Fisheries is in Crisis. Declare Overfishing’. We are asking if you could post the poster as your profile picture in your facebook account at least for a week and at most for the whole month of February. May we also ask if you could post the message below as your status/update this February.
‘Based on the National Stock Assessment Program by the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR), most of the major Philippine fishing grounds have reached their sustainable limits. For the past several years, we have been for DA-BFAR to publicly declare that the Philippine fisheries is in crisis. Yet, our calls have fallen on deaf ears despite the pronounced effect of overfishing to the people who directly depend on fisheries for their income and subsistence. Our future is at stake. We may end up without fish, the primary source of animal protein of Filipinos, if we do not implement fisheries management that works and fits in the Philippines. One step for fisheries management to be successful is for DA-BFAR, the main government institution that ensures steady supply of fish in the country, to acknowledge the issue on overfishing. The Philippine Fisheries is in Crisis. Declare Overfishing’
May we also ask you to send this to your friends and colleagues who may help us on our call.
For the month of February, we will also be posting videos of testimonies of our fisherfolk leaders regarding overfishing. We will also be creating an invitation for the cause in facebook. Please do support us on this call.
Maraming salamat. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! Mabuhay ang Mangingisdang Pilipino!
NGOs for Fisheries Reform, Inc.
March 8, 2014, Cocoon Boutique Hotel
Quezon City, Philippines