Atty. Asis G. Perez, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) director, said during the recent FishR launching that the programme aims to fast-track, enhance and complete the nationwide registration as required under the Fisheries Code of 1998.
Upon completion of the programme, the bureau will come up with a national database that would be necessary in designing programmes to aid local municipalities in managing, regulating, conserving and protecting fishery resources and establishing a Comprehensive Fishery Information System, Perez said.
Perez said during the Harampang Ha PIA held after the launching that the bureau encounters difficulties in requesting for funds since the Congress wants figures and fishermen have no official count.
Currently, only 50 per cent of the fishermen has been accounted for by BFAR in the past years through its local registration initiative backed by government farming technicians.
The bureau has devised mechanisms to ensure the full implementation of this program in close partnership with all coastal cities and municipalities in the six provinces of Eastern Visayas, namely: Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar, Samar and Southern Leyte, Perez said.
FishR is open to all workers in the fisheries sector, which includes municipal fishermen, fish vendors, fish farmers and all other workers in allied industries.
The registration, which will run for one year, will help the government prioritize programmes in more impoverished coastal communities. Poverty incidence among families of fishermen is at 70 per cent and an average family has eight to 12 members.
The bureau has earmarked some P30 million to ensure the complete registration all over the country. This budget will be distributed among 899 coastal cities and municipalities in the form of incentives.
Through this, the fisheries technician officers from the local government units (LGUs) in all coastal cities and municipalities, who will facilitate in the registration, will receive an incentive of P15 per fisherman registered.
Two million worth of projects await the first 100 LGUs that could record a 100 per cent registration of their fishermen, Perez said.
The municipal fisheries sector provides 27 percent of the country’s close to five million metric tons total volume of fish produce. This is higher than the contribution of the commercial fishing sector at 21 per cent. It is, however, lamentable that this sector composed of more than one million fishermen remains to be the poorest of the poor, Perez said.
In 2012, the region’s total fisheries production amounted to more than P13 billion with a volume of 200,417 metric tons.
With 143 cities and municipalities, Eastern Visayas is well poised for more government interventions, Perez said.