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Anti-illegal fishing drive boosted

BFAR-7 regional director Allan Poquita (left) and Accert president Miguel Ortiz at the signing of the memorandum of agreement to strengthen anti-illegal fishing efforts in the region*

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Central Visayas has partnered with non-government organization Anti-Crime and Community Emergency Response Team for the strengthening of the region’s anti-illegal fishing campaign.

The endeavor was formalized yesterday with the signing of a memorandum of agreement between BFAR-7 regional director Allan Poquita and Accert president, Dr. Miguel Ortiz, at the BFAR-7 regional office in Cebu.

Poquita said the agreement stipulates that Accert members will serve as “volunteer units or force multipliers and mutual partners” in the relentless drive on fishery law enforcement.

He said both parties will work together to address the issues that surround enforcement implementation and moral and spiritual transformation within the mandate of BFAR-7 “and come up with possible recommendations to enhance program strategies.”

The agency, he said, is not lowering its guard on fishery law enforcement amid the prevailing health crisis.

One of BFAR’s enforcement mandates is to prohibit commercial operators from fishing in the municipal waters.

Commercial fishing boat operators have been warned that they will have to face the consequences if they continue to violate fishery laws, including Republic Act 10654, or An Act to Prevent, Deter, Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, which amended RA 8550, or The Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998.

Local fishermen are allowed to venture in the seawaters 15 kilometers from the shoreline while commercial fishers are permitted beyond this point.*PNA

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