Senator Loren Legarda today expressed alarm over reported declining tuna stocks worldwide primarily due to overfishing.
Noting the Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which revealed that five of the eight tuna species in the world have been considered threatened with extinction, Legarda said that the issue is relevant to the Philippine fishing industry as the country is the fourth largest producer of fresh chilled and canned tuna products in the world.
“Overfishing has been a great challenge to the country’s fishing industry. Aside from declining tuna stocks, we have also received reports earlier in the year regarding the decline in the supply of galunggong and dilis. We have to immediately address this concern because continued marine degradation and weak enforcement of our fisheries law will further deprive our citizens of their basic needs,” she stressed.
In this light, the Senator said that she is hopeful that the Philippine ratification of the Agreement with the International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM) will produce significant improvements in the country’s fisheries and aquaculture sector.
She explained that the ICLARM has been working closely with a number of research institutions in the Philippines to increase fish production, improving resource management and equitable distribution of benefits in developing countries and protecting the environment.
“The presence of ICLARM in the country, through a duly established Office, ensures the continuity in its programs and joint initiatives with the Philippine government and other partner institutions for the development of the fisheries sector. However, our government has the greater responsibility to ensure that it faithfully and effectively implements the provisions of the Fisheries Code to balance the need for livelihood and food supply and the need to ensure continuous production of fish species for future yield and maintain ecological balance,” Legarda concluded.***