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Integrated management plan pushed to protect Visayan Sea

AN INTEGRATED fisheries management plan is being crafted to protect the Visayan Sea.

This was cited by Iloilo Provincial Agriculturist Ildefonso Toledo as among the specific management actions conceptualized during a recent coordination meeting by Oceana together with the representatives of Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Western Visayas and the local government units covering the Visayan Sea namely, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Capiz, Cebu and Masbate.

Oceana is a nongovernmental organization which focuses on habitat marine conservation and sustainable fisheries. Toledo stressed the need for conservation, protection and restoration of the Visayan Sea as it is experiencing depletion. “There are 33 municipalities adjoining the Visayan Sea.
This will be a big work but we are hopeful,” he said, adding, the integrated fisheries management plan would spell out specific plans on how to totally oversee the Visayan Sea.

“It would start from resource management, law enforcement and other components. There might also be alternative livelihood because if there will be displaced fisher folks as a result of the intensification of our campaign against illegal fishing, we need to be ready to provide them with alternatives,” he added.

Meanwhile, a summit was also conceptualized during the meeting according to Candeze Mongaya, communications associate of Oceana. She said that they are planning to conduct an “enforcement summit” in May that would gather representatives from the five provinces covering the Visayan Sea and their respective “Bantay Dagat” task forces.

Mongaya said Visayan Sea is the third largest fishing ground in the Philippines that supports almost half a million fisher folk but there are still many problems, especially illegal fishing. The participants of the summit would lay down plans and initiatives to further protect the fishing ground of the Visayan Sea. (Cindy Ferrer)

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