The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has directed Local Government Units (LGUs), especially coastal cities and municipalities, to support the operations of Fisheries Management Areas (FMAs), to ensure the sustainable management of coastal and marine resources nationwide.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año issued Memorandum Circular No. 2020-121 directing LGUs to be part of the multi-sectoral management board and to work with other sectors in ensuring that the shared resources and fish stocks within the FMAs are properly managed.
FMA is a spatial delineation of the Philippine waters as a means to manage fisheries at an appropriate scale. The establishment of FMAs through Fisheries Administrative Order 263 signed by former Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol brings into play a science-based, participatory, and transparent governance framework and mechanism to sustainably manage the country’s fisheries resources.
The spatial delineation of Philippine fishing grounds into 12 FMAs composed of contiguous regions which share the same coasts, intends to properly manage our fisheries resources using an ecosystem-based approach.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) thanked the DILG for its support to the fisheries sector and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Fish Right Program for being its main partner in crafting this policy initiative.
“Consistent with the ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management, FMAs were identified and delineated in consultation with the stakeholders based on the range of fish stocks, distribution of fisheries, and best available scientific conservation data. This new fisheries governance framework promotes the conservation and sustainable use of the fisheries resources using a science-based, participatory, and transparent governance approach, with initiatives anchored on food security. These activities will only be possible with the full cooperation of our coastal local government units. This memorandum circular thus becomes an important instrument in the attainment of the objectives of the FMA framework,” BFAR said in a press release.
BFAR-Mimaropa assistant regional director Roberto Abrera said that Palawan belongs to the FMA with Antique and Occidental Mindoro.
Abrera said that their office assisted several coastal LGUs in the region by providing them fiberglass boats that can be utilized in the enforcement.
The BFAR is hopeful that this important milestone will lead towards more sustainable management and development of our country’s fisheries resources.