City Hall supports move vs Fisheries Code change PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 09 December 2014 13:46

Mayor Beng Climaco said yesterday the city government through the City Legal Office was preparing its official stand against the proposed amendments to the Fisheries Code that seek to increase the fines for violation of the fishery laws.

This, Climaco said, after the officers of the Southern Philippines Deep Sea Fishing Association, Inc. (SOPHIL)  had presented to her their positions against the consolidated House and Senate bills, amending RA 8550 or the Philippines Fisheries Code of 1998.

She said the fishing industry is employing more than 30,000 people who are at risk of losing their jobs if President Aquino will sign the bills into law.

“We are assisting them to review their proposed opposition because we are looking at what legal measures that needed to be done in order to give our canning industry the opportunity to exercise freely their economic activities,” Climaco told the press briefing.

“We have to prepare our documents in writing and submit it to the President,” she added, stressing that the amendment bills, if signed into law, will affect a lot of people now employed in different fishing canning factories in the west coast of this city.

It was learned that the main opposition of the fishing industry is focused on the increased fines from P10,000 under the existing fishery law to P5 million for local fishing and up to P90 million for large overseas fishing  vessels plus an automatic escalation of 10% every three years as proposed in House Bill 04536 and Senate Bill 2414, both to amend the 1998 Fisheries Code of the Philippines.

In its appeal to Pres. Aquino, the SOPHIL said the amendment looks noble—that is to conserve the marine resources.

“We support that objective but the law should not treat the commercial fishers as villains of the lowest level,” the SOPHIL said in its appeal, adding that illegal fishermen using dynamite and cyanide case more irreparable damage to marine resources in contrast to the sustainable methods of commercial fishing.

“Unfortunately, the penalties for destructive fishing activities by illegal fishermen are even lighter than those imposed on commercial fishing operators,” the SOPHIL lamented. – Vic Larato