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Public forum tackles Filipinos’ opinion on fisheries issues

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Fisheries resources are depleting in the recent years and fishing communities should know how to address this pressing issue.

Opinions of Filipinos on fisheries issues and protection of marine resources and oceans are vital in this concern. Hence, a public forum to guide policy making was conducted on November 27, 2018 at UP Visayas (UPV) Iloilo City campus.

The forum presented the results of the nationwide survey conducted by the Social Weather Station (SWS) on September 2017 on the opinions of the Filipinos on fisheries, marine resources, and oceans.

Ms. Linda Guerrero, vice president of SWS, a private non-stock and non-profit research institution, talked about the technical details and the highlights of the survey.

“Majority of the Filipinos believe that fishes caught become smaller, fewer, more expensive and has less varieties,” Guerrero stressed.

Atty. Gloria E. Ramos, vice president of Oceana Philippines, discussed the lessons of the study and what the Filipinos can do to address the issue.

Ramos pointed out the impacts of overfishing that resulted to the depletion of the fisheries resources. She emphasized the need for transparency in the oceans to deter illegal fishing as well as strong information and education campaign (IEC) in all media platforms. The survey revealed that only few Filipinos know about the Fisheries Code that aims to protect the industry.

Representatives from the local government units, academe, fisherfolk and other stakeholders shared their views on the presentation. Among them were director Remia Aparri of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Region VI; Mayor Jett Rojas of Ajuy, Iloilo and vice president for External Affairs of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines; a representative of Iloilo provincial governor Arthur Defensor; Prof. Gay Defiesta, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs of UPV; Mr. Whelver Surnido, vice-chairperson of the CFOS Student Council representing the youth sector and Ms. Glenda dela Torre representing the fisherfolks.

The forum was convened by UPV, through Institute of Fisheries Policy and Development Studies (IFPDS) of the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences (CFOS), in collaboration with Oceana Philippines.

Members of the Philippine National Police and Iloilo media also attended the public forum. IFPDS Director Prof. Harold Monteclaro gave the closing remarks.

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