March 5, 2024

Agriculture Sec. William Dar has directed the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI), and the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority (PFDA) – to synergize their efforts, plans, and programs to attain a sustainable and inclusive “blue economy.”
Dar ordered the crafting and implementation of a national fisheries development program that harmonizes the strengths of the PFDA in fisheries infrastructure, NFRDI in research for development on sustainable fisheries, and BFAR in implementing innovative and programs that will particularly benefit small aquaculture and coastal fishers through increased productivity and fish catch, while protecting the country’s aquaculture and marine resources.
The agriculture chief cited the importance of the “blue economy,” considering that the Philippines is four-fifths water and one-fifth land.
“The blue economy is a source of economic growth – not just a way to protect nature, but as a major source of food, jobs, and incomes. Healthy seas are key not only for the health of our environment, but also to accelerate economic growth, create jobs, and fight poverty,” Dar said.
“Our initiatives and efforts should benefit not only the industry as a whole, but also the small marginal municipal fisherfolk,” the DA chief said.
He also emphasized the urgent need for the “Big Brother, Small Brother” partnership in the fishery sector.
Under the strategy, he said a project will be pilot-tested by the NFRDI that aims to foster linkage between municipal and commercial fishers to improve shared and sustainable resource utilization.
A comprehensive capability building initiative will also be conducted for fisherfolk cooperatives and associations all over the country. Secretary Dar also asked BFAR to revisit and refine the guidelines of the Fishpond Lease Agreements (FLAs) based on the past performance of its holders.
He instructed the BFAR regional offices to conduct a thorough evaluation and document best practices that will be used in refining the guidelines before issuing new FLAs.
Another part of this effort is the consolidation of fish farms to boost productivity in the aquaculture sector.
He thus urged for the creation of a BFAR advisory board, looking at the possibility of tapping the NFARMC, which is in the process of electing new council members.
Dar also called for improving the present BFAR organizational structure and directed its management to consider the creation of new assistant director posts tasked to focus on operations, research and regulations, and administration and finance to include planning and monitoring.
He also urged BFAR regional directors to formulate action plans to adapt to the different needs of the aquaculture and fisheries sector in their respective regions. – DA release