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Creation of new fisheries agency sought

PHILIPPINES - Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Villafuerte is pushing for the creation of a new full-fledged fisheries department to enable the country to save P23 billion in losses yearly.

Villafuerte, chairman of the House committee on fisheries and aquaculture, said that the operations of the 'pint-size' Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources had resulted to inadequate management of the country's fisheries resources. He cited an environment monitoring-assessment report showing that the Philippines' lack of proper management of fisheries has been costing the country P23 billion in economic losses every year.

He believed that if the government invested P1 billion yearly to maintain a new fisheries department, it would result in savings of 50 percent of the P23 billion and yield a return on investment of 11 to 12 times.

Villafuerte added that a whole department looking after the development and management of fisheries will greatly help in building up the country's food supply.

It was ironic that despite the Philippines' being the world's eighth biggest fish producer, still had a department looking after the fisheries sub-sector.

The country's fisheries output is projected to hit five million metric tons this year, up 13 percent compared to the 4.4 million metric tons produced in 2006.

Source:Daily Star Business