BFAR proposes purchase of 27 patrol boats to monitor fisheries violations

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/08 July) —  The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has proposed the purchase of 27 patrol boats from local manufacturers to boost its marine protection capability.

The proposed purchase, estimated at P189 million, has been forwarded to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). BFAR director Asis Perez said the  boats would be made of fiberglass to make them last for about two decades. Wooden patrol boats, he said, has a life span of only about three years.

Perez said the new patrol boats would be fitted with armaments in the future.

The BFAR has only ten existing boats in the country, two of them servicing the southern shores, from the Moro Gulf to the Davao Gulf, and are being utilized by the Coast Guard. These were made of fiberglass or steel and have machine guns and have a length of 45 meters.

Fatma Idris, BFAR director for the Davao Region, said  the two boats have BFAR personnel. “These are the MCS type, or the monitoring, control and surveillance boats,” she said.

If the boats are acquired soon, Perez said BFAR will be able to increase its capability to monitor, not only poaching in our international waters, but violations within our municipal waters.

He said domestic violations, especially dynamite-fishing, have been “the most destructive and posed immediate concern because they damage a wider area for every blast”.

Aggregate estimated damage from all monitored and unmonitored blasting would affect up to two million cubic meters of marine life. Dynamite fishers use less than one liter of TNT (trinitrotoluene,  the active ingredient of explosives but Perez said “now, some are using one liter of explosives.”

Perez noted that from a sample controlled explosion, a blast from one dynamite would affect an area of 100 meters and a depth of five meters.  He said what is immediately visible are dead fish floating  but the blast actually kills the fingerlings from as far as 100 meters.”. (MindaNews)