This program focuses on the promotion of strict enforcement of fishery laws  and regulations, and the intensification of coastal resource management  activities to properly utilize aquatic resources in the coastal and other marine  areas of the country. This program also hopes to address issues on  environmental and resource degradation with an overarching goal of food  security in fisheries.

Monitoring, Control and Surveillance

There are various factors that hinder the country’s goal in achieving food  security and resource sustainability in the fisheries sector. Destabilized  efforts to achieve food security brought by illegal fishing activities such as the  use of dynamite, cyanide, poaching/intrusions of foreign vessels and other  actions that cause destruction and degradation of our aquatic resources. As a  response, BFAR will continuously implement the Monitoring, Control and  Surveillance (MCS) system which aims to sustain and protect the country’s  fisheries and aquatic resources against illegal activities. In FY2023, seventeen  (17) MCS stations and ten (10) multi-mission vessels and eighty-eight  (88) MCS and patrol vessels are expected to be maintained by the Bureau.

The MCS system has 3 components, to wit: data collection (monitoring),  legislation (through licensing and control), and enforcement (surveillance). 

The specific activities under the program include: enforcement of fishery laws  through coordination with other government enforcement agencies,  mandated by Republic Act No. 8550, as amended by RA 10654; Jurisdiction of  the Local Government Units in municipal waters in the enforcement of fishery  laws is emphasized as this is an activity identified in the Mandanas-Garcia  Ruling as devolved function in consideration of the RA 7160 or the Local  Government Code of 1991. Training of fish examiners and law enforcement  officers shall be a specific collaborative activity with LGU wherein BFAR is a  technical expert to act as resource person on this undertaking; coordination  with LGUs under the “Bantay Dagat” program; and filing of cases and testifying  as government witness in the prosecution of illegal fishing cases.

Combating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing

Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing has been one of the greatest  challenges by the government in maintaining and protecting the country’s  fisheries and aquatic resources. The Food and Agriculture Organization  Council proposed the International Plan of Action (IPOA) as a solution to  prevent, deter and eliminate IUU Fishing. United Nations Member States are  encouraged to adopt the National Plans of Action (NPOA) to address IUUF.

IUUF should be addressed in the NPOA through these measures: (a) All State  Responsibilities (e.g. ratification of relevant norms of international law such  as the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1993 FAO Compliance  Agreement and 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement and enactment of national  legislation focusing on all aspects of IUUF; (b) Flag State Responsibilities (e.g. prevention of flag-hopping and re-flagging aimed at non-compliance with  conservation and management measures, among others); (c) coastal State  Responsibilities (e.g. prevention of IUUF in the Exclusive Economic Zone and  regulation of fishing access to avoid IUUF); (d) Port State Measures (e.g.  control of port access by fishing vessels to prevent IUUF); (e) Research (e.g.  research on methods of identifying fish species from samples of processed  products); and (f) Internationally-Agreed Market Related measures (e.g.  catch documentation scheme or certification requirements).

In FY 2023, 1,379 land-based and 1,998 sea-based operations with a total of  3,377 field operations related to fishery law enforcement are scheduled to be  conducted to ensure the security of Philippine waters and aquatic resources  through monitoring, surveillance, law implementation and others.

Quality Control and Inspection

Fish Health Management Laboratories

Based on statistics and data, one of the significant contributors in fisheries  production is the intensified aquaculture. However, it entails pollution-related  problems. The current state of fish and other aquatic resources was  compromised by a polluted environment, which leads to disease outbreaks,  increase in mortality and decreasing yield. As a response, the Bureau will  continue to support the implementation of national fish health management  and monitoring programs to catalyze growth in aquaculture production. The  activities include:

  • Operation of fish health laboratories in various regional offices to handle fish, shrimp and seaweed related diseases;
  • Monitoring of various aquatic residues and aquatic animal diseases by inspecting various aquafarms and issuance of health certificates; and • Monitoring of fish cages to abate fish kills.

For FY 2023, 8,786 monitoring of Harmful Algal Bloom are expected to take  place and nine (9) laboratories will be maintained by the Bureau.

Fish Quality Assurance Program

This program aims to ensure all fish-related products meet the standards for  consumer nutrition and safety. This was supported by the implementation of  Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), which requires processing  establishments and post-harvest facilities to comply with the sanitary and  phytosanitary standards to ensure the acceptable quality of the country’s exported fish products. Under this program, the Bureau will still be conducting  the following activities:

  • Regular inspection and monitoring of processing plants to verify their compliance;
  • Issuance of sanitary certificates on the importing countries; Continuous support to the Regional Fish Quality Control Laboratories that examines all fishery products; and
  • Organizing training and seminars to provide our personnel with updated technical knowledge.

A total of 2,343 fishery facilities and aquaculture farms will be monitored to  ensure the efficiency of compliance to national, if not international standards. A  total of 6,570 fishery products will be monitored to ensure the quality of fish  in our country, regardless if it will be consumed locally or internationally. In  addition, 31,417 disease sampling, detection and analyses will also be  conducted in support of our fish quality assurance program.

Quarantine, Registration and Licensing

Under this component, the Bureau regularly issues permits, licenses and  accreditations to fisheries entities. For FY2023, a total of 301,404 permits,  clearances, certifications, licenses and accreditations are targeted to be issued  to commercial fishing vessels and gears (CFVGs), FLA covered areas, and other  fisheries entities. The Bureau continuously conducts inspections on CFVGs,  FLAs and other fisheries entities.