Oceana urges gov’t to enforce vessel monitoring system
CITY OF CALAPAN –– The international advocacy group Oceana urged the government to implement the vessel monitoring system for all commercial fishing vessels.
This was after a Filipino fishing boat was allegedly rammed by a Chinese trawler in the West Philippine Sea early this month.
“Our fisheries laws are clear on requiring a tracking device for commercial fishing vessels, but if we continue to ignore its importance in deterring illegal fishing and possible human rights abuses, and take the business-as-usual mindset, our own people will face the grave consequences,” Oceana said in a statement Wednesday.
Gloria Estenzo Ramos, vice president of Oceana, said we “need to be firm in ensuring transparency and accountability in ocean governance if we are to eradicate the continuing plunder on our oceans and assault on our honor and integrity as a nation, apart from pushing us on the edge on the issue of food security.”
On June 9, a Chinese vessel allegedly rammed the F/B Gem-Vir 1, while anchored at the Recto (Reed) Bank.
The Chinese boat sped away, leaving the Filipino fishermen in the open water for hours until help from a Vietnamese boat came.
“The incident in the Recto Bank may not be the last if we continue to ignore the safeguards that legally should be in place to protect our ocean and our people,” Ramos said.
According to her, strengthening of the monitoring and surveillance system is much needed, coupled with science-based and participatory decision-making in the newly designated 12 fisheries management areas in the country. (Editor: Leti Boniol)