Republic Act (RA) 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of the Philippines of 1998 cites two important provisions that safeguard the socio-economic lives of the fisherfolk and the environmental state of the seas: (1) ensuring the preferential rights of the municipal fisherfolk in municipal waters; and (2) setting the municipal waters at 15 kilometers from the shoreline. An amendment from RA 10654 of 2015 grants local government units (LGUs) the authority to enact an ordinance allowing small- and medium scale commercial fishers within 10.1 to 15 kms of the municipal waters as long as requirements set by the law are met.
How has this policy of commercial fishing in municipal waters been implemented thus far? What were the motivations of the LGUs in crafting and issuing their respective ordinance of allowing or disallowing commercial fishing within municipal waters? How diligent was the enforcement of the policy? What are the economic, social and environmental effects of implementing the policy or how has it affected the lives of the municipal fisherfolk as well as the state of coastal resources?
This study attempts to answer the above questions by describing the implementation of the policy on commercial fishing within municipal waters by four select LGUs in the Philippines: Subic in Olongapo City, Pandan in Antique, Coron in Palawan, and Zamboanga City. Analysis of the findings and insights gathered from the study offer options in issuing or renewing an ordinance, and policy recommendations such as the formulation of standard processes and procedures in securing licenses and permits for commercial fishing in municipal waters, and offering of incentives for Bantay Dagat personnel (fish wardens). Enforcement strategies are also presented, primary of which is the full and strict implementation of the law and ordinances beginning with the delineation of municipal waters, apprehension of violators, and full charging of fees and penalties. Given these, the preferential rights of the fisherfolk over the municipal waters, income generation and protection of the seas are better ensured.
Download and read full report: bit.ly/Karapat_Dagat.
Download the policy brief: bit.ly/PolicyBrief_KarapatDagat
This research is done in partnership with Rare Philippines.