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58th FishCon Week highlights right balance between fisheries dev’t and protection

Author: DA Communications Group | 13 September 2021

Agriculture Secretary William Dar led the opening of the 58th Fish Conservation Week Celebration with the theme, “Pangisdaang Likas-kaya, Bunga’y Masaganang Ani at Mataas na Kita.”

He said this year’s celebration underlines the importance of sustainable fisheries management and development in bringing about abundance for fisherfolk whose livelihood depends on the integrity of the oceans and its resources.

“It is a recognition of the balancing act required to bring about real prosperity, that is, by harnessing the full potential of our fisheries resources without sacrificing their sustainability and capability to provide for generations to come,” the agri chief said during the virtual opening ceremony on September 13, 2021.

He added the said balancing act has been the pillar of the Department of Agriculture (DA) programs, thus the agency’s continued implementation of science-based and participatory conservation and management measures that ensure sustainable resource use.

Examples of these programs are the implementation of closed fishing seasons, establishment of Fisheries Management Areas (FMAs), and conduct of the Malinis at Masaganang Karagatan (MMK) Program.

Secretary Dar cited the positive effect of the close fishing seasons in the sardine-rich Zamboanga Peninsula, wherein steady growth in production has been observed since 2011.

He also stressed the importance of established FMAs, which is a new governance scheme for sustainable fisheries management.

“We did away from the parochial style of managing our resources based only on political delineations and applied a more holistic, science-based, participatory, and ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management, to find the balance between ecological and human well-being,” he said.

The MMK Program, on the other hand, is the annual search for the country’s most outstanding coastal community.

It aims at promoting the protection and conservation of coastal and marine resources by giving incentives to wining communities that are evaluated based on the following criteria: 1) absence of illegal fishing; 2) observance of off-fishing season; 3) declaration of Marine Protected Areas; 4) cleanliness of coastal waters without any garbage or industrial effluence flowing to the sea; and 5) effectiveness of mangrove protection and rehabilitation program.

For MMK 2020, the search has been narrowed down to five exceptional coastal communities namely: Prieto Diaz, Sorsogon; Libertad, Antique; Hinunangan, Southern Leyte; Mahinog, Camiguin; and Del Carmen, Surigao del Norte.

“I am sure your initiatives will benefit not only your localities, but will inspire other coastal communities to follow suit and implement their own programs and projects for fisheries conservation,” Secretary Dar said as he congratulated the finalists.

The Fish Conservation Week also coincides with the celebration of the Maritime and Archipelagic Nation Awareness Month.

“Together, let us celebrate the 58th Fish Conservation Week with excitement and renewed enthusiasm in promoting conservation and protection of our fishery and aquatic resources as the path to a food-secure Philippines with prosperous and empowered fisherfolk” the agri chief urged. ### (Gumamela Celes Bejarin, DA-AFID)

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