The cahoots behind the sardine-ban; tuna magnates run BFAR – fisherfolk
Manila, Philippines – The activist fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) criticized the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) for the sardine ban in the Sulu Sea and Basilan Strait.
On January 12, the BFAR has imposed a three-month motatorium for sardine fishing in Sulu Sea and Basilan Strait which according to them, to give way to the sardines’ spawning season.
But fisherfolk group Pamalakaya expressed its concern on the economic implication of the fish ban to the small fisherfolk and local producers who depends on catching sardines.
Sardines (tamban) are typically used as fish bait for larger fish like tuna, and is also used as fish meal in fish farms and aquacultures. The waters covered by the ban are also known for spawning grounds for tuna and other tuna-like species.
The group said that the main reason behind the sardine ban is to expedite the reproduction and growth of the tuna, which is one of our major exports. According to the data of BFAR, tuna export have doubled on 2012 to 2013, from 165, 324 metric tons to 333, 465 metric tons of tuna have been exported to the international market.
“It is becoming apparent that the fish ban imposed by BFAR is tuna-magnates and aquaculture-owners dictated, all for the benefits of large tuna producers that are based on export at the cost of the livelihoods of the almost 200,000 municipal fisherfolk in the ARMM region and the whole country’s local production.” Salvador France, Pamalakaya vice-chairperson said in a statement.
Pamalakaya blamed the soon to be 18-year old Fisheries Code of 1998 and its amendments as the main culprit behind the fish bans in the country.
“The fisheries code and its amendments, under the guise of combatting the so called ‘illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing’ and preserving marine products through fish bans, are killing our small fisherfolk. The fisheries law only legalized the explotation and monopoly of the export-based large commercial fishers while small-fisherfolk who works for the country’s consumption is in deep poverty.” France ended. ###