BFAR: PH fisherfolk will continue fishing in WPS despite China ban

MANILA: The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) on Wednesday maintained that Filipino fishermen will continue fishing over the West Philippine Sea (WPS) despite China’s imposition of a unilateral fishing ban in the area.

In an interview, BFAR Spokesperson Nazario Briguera echoed the stance of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) insisting that only the Philippines has the right to implement policies over the country’s territorial waters.

“Walang dapat pumigil sa ating mga mangingisda na maglayag sa West Philippine Sea. Hindi tayo patitinag sa sinasabi nilang fishing ban, kasi unang una, walang legal na basehan (No one should prohibit our Filipino fishers to sail in the West Philippine Sea. We will not be moved by what they call fishing ban, because first of all, it has no legal basis),” Briguera said.

He said the Philippines will only recognize its own closed fishing season over its waters, which is implemented every Nov. 1 to Jan. 31, and assured that the government will continue its progr
ams, presence, and assistance in support of fishers in the WPS.

“Napakahalaga po ng West Philippine Sea kung kaya ganun na lang ang pagsusumikap natin na likas kayang malinang ito ng Pilipinas at hindi ang mga banyaga na walang karapatan dito sa mga katubigang ito (The WPS is very valuable that’s why we are this passionate in nurturing it to benefit the Philippines, and not foreigners who have no right over these waters),” he said.

To date, 385,000 Filipino fishers are benefiting from the WPS according to the National Municipal Fisherfolk registration.

The fish production in WPS alone is equivalent to 11.87 percent of the Philippine marine capture fisheries.

Meanwhile, Briguera said BFAR is closely monitoring the price of galunggong (round scad) amid the reported price spike following the onslaught of Typhoon Aghon.

He said the price of galunggong rose from PHP200 per kilogram to PHP240, which may be attributed to the slimming supply due to delayed unloading.

“We expect kapag wala nang masamang panahon
na babalik na ito sa dating presyo (that if the bad weather subsides, it will go back to its previous prices),” Briguera said.

The Department of Agriculture (DA)-Bantay Presyo (price watch) reported that the prevailing price range of local round scad in Metro Manila is at PHP160/kg to PHP280/kg as of Wednesday.

Meanwhile, he assured a stable aquaculture supply despite the effects of Aghon.

To date, the BFAR reported around PHP1 million worth of damage in the sector, particularly in the Bicol Region.

Source: Philippines News Agency