Gov’t to implement stringent tuna conservation measures

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 6 Sept) – The government will implement more stringent conservation measures to ensure the proper management of the country’s dwindling tuna resources.

Undersecretary Eduardo Gongona, national director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), said these mechanisms were set in the updated National Tuna Management Plan (NTMP) of 2018.

The agency formally launched and endorsed the new management plan to Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol here on Thursday morning after over two years of studies and consultations with concerned sectors.

“It is a comprehensive roadmap towards a sustainably-managed and equitably allocated tuna fisheries in the country,” he said during the launching ceremony at the opening of the 20th National Tuna Congress.

Gongona, who is also the Department of Agriculture’s undersecretary for fisheries, said the NTMP seeks to address various issues and challenges affecting the country’s tuna industry and the entire supply chain, including the “cries and woes” of stakeholders.

He specifically cited the “threats of overfishing and resource abuse,” which have been blamed over the declining tuna catches within the country’s territorial waters in the past decade.

These concerns would be addressed through conservation measures that are backed by science and policy research, among them the setting of harvest control rules and the declaration of off-fishing seasons, he said.

Gongona said the NTMP also provides for the strengthening of governance and management of tuna fisheries through the improvement of law enforcement mechanisms and ensuring the compliance of tuna industry players to safety and quality standards.

He said the plan also puts into consideration the human aspect of tuna production and highlights the need to improve the socio-economic condition of fisherfolk through equitable access to resources.

“In sum, the NTMP strives to strike a balance between ecological well-being and human well-being – a balance achieved through good governance, coupled with strong stakeholder partnership and participation,” he said.

The 2018 NTMP took off from the initial version of the plan, which was completed by DA-BFAR in 2012.

The agency formulated the management plan in collaboration with the Socsksargen Federation of Fishing and Allied Industries Inc. based in the city. (MindaNews)