MANILA— An environmental protection advocacy group on Friday asked the Supreme Court to compel the government to implement the provisions of the Fisheries Code’s Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for a system to monitor large fishing vessel and identify areas where fishing would be allowed.
In its 55-page petition, the Oceana Philippines International, represented by Gloria Ramos, asked the high tribunal to enforce the IRR of the Fisheries Code which took effect on Oct. 10, 2015, requiring the government to implement it one year afterwards.
Under the IRR, the government is tasked, among other things, to determine the appropriate vessel monitoring measures (VMM) technology and corresponding schedule to cover commercial fishing vessels weighing 3.1 to 30 gross tons and promulgate the corresponding rules and regulations.
It also directs the government to identify “target reference points and limit reference points and the harvest control rules in all fishing grounds or fishery management areas.”
“Unless this Honorable Court intervenes by issuing an Environmental Protection Order and or Temporary Environmental Protection Order and a writ of mandamus, the adverse impact on our marine resources and habitats, fisheries and municipal fisherfolk will continue unabated,” the petitioners said.
The petitioners counsel, Dean Jose Manuel Diokno, said the absence of the government’s definition of what is municipal water as directed by the law resulted in hard times for 1.7 million local fisherfolk who have to compete with commercial fishing vessels.
This has resulted in the depletion and overfishing of 10 of 13 of the country’s major fishing grounds, Diokno said. (Benjamin Pulta/PNA)