BFAR collects P12.8-M fines for IUU fishing

By Louise Maureen Simeon

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources managed to collect only P12.8 million despite raising the penalties for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Since the amendment of the Fisheries Code in 2015, BFAR has increased penalties from P5,000 to P300,000, reaching a high of $1 million.

“With our policy framework, we enhanced and imposed stiff penalties. This goes to show that the government is more serious in dealing with IUU fishing,” BFAR technical services assistant director Drusila Bayate said in a forum on Tuesday.

“We are in a stage of transition now. We are in an ongoing reorganization. We did not have law enforcers when the law was amended, we are now recruiting fishing regulation officers,” she added.

BFAR collected a total of P10.7 million in administrative fines in 2016 and another P2.1 million from January to August this year.

Total number of IUUF violations reached 1,043 but only 70 fishing boats had been charged with ordinance fines.

According to BFAR, Taiwanese nationals now comprise the majority of violators, followed by the Vietnamese.

BFAR is looking at upgrading its monitoring assets and vessels to enhance its surveillance in several fishing grounds in the country.

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