BFAR REGION XI caught three Commercial Fishing Vessels illegally fishing (BFAR Region XI Facebook Page)

The US Agency for International Development and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) are developing a threat assessment tool to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The IUU Fishing Index and Threat Assessment Tool will map which coastal areas are exposed to and are effectively fighting illegal fishing, the US embassy said in a statement on March 10.

“With the use of science and data, we are in the process of developing an IUU Fishing Index and Threat Assessment Tool, which will be adopted in the 12 Fisheries Management Areas,” said BFAR Director Eduardo Gongona.

Gongona said that once the tool was fully implemented, it would provide periodic information to identify other ways to encourage voluntary compliance, strategically guide law enforcement operations, and communicate progress in reducing illegal fishing in the country.

USAID and BFAR released a report on Tuesday (March 9) which stated that 27 to 40 percent of fish harvested in 2019 came from illegal fishing.

Illegal fishing was worth approximately P62 billion ($1.3 billion) annually.

Some 30,000 or 30 percent of municipal vessels remained unregistered, and 422,000 metric tons of fish from commercial fishers were not reported each year. Hazel N. Camba