Filipino fishermen must stay or post the West Philippine Sea.
This was asserted by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), amid China’s continued illegal occupation of such oceans.
“Kailangang hindi natin iabandona ang traditional fishing grounds, common fishing grounds kasi since time immemorial nagpupunta tayo dun eh. Kung hindi tayo magpapakita, kung di pupunta ang ating fishermen dun o fishing vessels at ating government assets, parang inabandona na natin yun,” explained BFAR director Eduardo Gongona.
Gongona added that the West Philippine Sea contributes to the supply of fish in Metro Manila.
The West Philippine Sea produces about 324,000 metric tons of fish while Palawan as part of it is the source of 92 percent of the galunggong, he said.
He said it is important to protect the West Philippine Sea as a fishing ground, so the Philippine Coast Guard and BFAR conducted joint maritime exercises to maintain their presence and access to the ocean.
“Hinihikayat namin yung mga fishermen natin, sabi ko nga sa West Philippine Sea, we should swarm the area with our fishermen,” said Gongona.
BFAR says Filipino fishers should stay at West Philippine Sea
This is despite the presence and intimidation of Chinese ships in the area, which the government is still unable to curb.
In a virtual press conference, Agriculture Undersecretary for Agri-industrialization and for Fisheries Cheryl Marie Caballero said fishermen should not be afraid as long as they are in the EEZ.
“We continue to provide support for fisher folk, ensuring their safety. Kaya ang BFAR (Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources), nandiyan in partnership with Philippine Coast Guard and local government units, para sila pa rin ang makapangisda sa fishing grounds,” said Caballero.
“Based on validated reports, minsan nangingisda sila para sa kanilang consumption. Kailangan pa i-substantiate sa mga lugar na hindi nararating ng ating fisher folk. Kailangan ma-contextualize kung gaano kadami,” she added.