Citing warning by experts that our seas would become “virtual deserts” by 2050 due to overfishing, Senator Cynthia Villar said she wants to review the draft plan and various inputs and recommendations of industry players on the National Tuna Management Plan.
“We would like to avoid the dreaded scenario of our oceans turning into virtual deserts by 2050,” said Villar, chairperson of the Senate Agriculture and Food committee.
She also mentioned about the 2010 Census of Marine Life which says 90 percent of the large fish are already depleted due to overfishing.
“Of course, the ultimate objective of any plan for the industry is to promote the effective conservation, management and equitable use of tuna resources in the Philippines for its sustainable development,” the veteran legislator added.
The seasoned lawmaker underscored that sustainability is the key word and one of the most important considerations in all our efforts and actions for the further growth, development and future of the tuna industry.
At the same time, the lady senator commended the SOCSKSARGEN Federation of Fishing and Allied Industries, Inc., for their commitment to combat illegal fishing for sustainable tuna industry.
“In pursuing your goals as stated in the theme of this year’s event “The Philippine Tuna Industry: Strengthened, Responsive, Competitive” – you are also asserting your commitment to strengthen your collaborative efforts with the government to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing for sustainable tuna fishery,” she told the 16th National Tuna Congress in General Santos City.
Villar emphasized that illegal fishing not only destroys the industry, but it also kills the livelihood of fisherfolks.
“It is our common interest to make sure that there is continuous fishing which would only be possible if we prevent all forms of activities that jeopardize the sustainability of our resources,” she said.
Villar likewise said the country’s Fisheries law will level our fishing at par with other countries, especially in the conservation measures on threatened aquatic species, highly migratory species and other marine resources.
“We have to always bear in mind that our resources are not unlimited, as such, we have to sustain them,” she said.
Villar also noted that the tuna industry has a promising future potential because it remains a top export commodity of the country.
“And as I cited earlier, I am glad that your are on the right track, as evident in this event, as far as pursuing a “strengthened, responsive and competitive” Philippine tuna industry,” she said.