Commercial fishing being studied in municipal waters with LGU approval

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said it is considering allowing commercial fishing vessels to fish as near as 10.1 kilometers offshore, with prior approval from the local government unit (LGU).

“We can perhaps facilitate the entry of commercial fishing vessels in areas where it is scientifically safe,” Agriculture Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and Regulations Asis G. Perez told reporters.

He added that instead of reforming the law “there has to be, coordination, explanation, making sure that everybody understands the benefit of allowing certain types of commercial fishing vessel.”

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., during his State of the Nation Address last year, sought Congressional support to further amend the Republic Act No. 10654, or the Amended Fisheries Code of the Philippines.

Under the law, commercial fishing vessels are only allowed to operate outside the 15-kilometer zone designated as municipal waters.

Mr. Perez said that the DA is seeking more local government support for commercial vessels entering the 10.1-kilometer zone.

Last year, the DA said that its proposed amendments to the fisheries code will focus on border controls to ensure the safety of imported fish.

It said that the revised law should incorporate science-based analysis and identification of fishing areas, balancing the interests of fisherfolk and the fishing industry. — Adrian H. Halili