To ensure the sustainable management of coastal and fisheries resources nationwide, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) called on local government units (LGUs), especially those lying on coastal areas, to support the establishment and operation of the 12 Fisheries Management Areas (FMAs) across the country.
FMA is a spatial delineation of Philippine waters as a means to manage fisheries at an appropriate scale. The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has established 12 FMAs composed of contiguous regions which share the same coasts.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that the preservation and management of aquatic resources, including coastal and fisheries, like other functions of the government must not cease despite the COVID-19 crisis adding that LGUs should lead in the management of shared coasts and ocean for the benefit of all.
“The establishment of FMAs is provided by the law and it is the enshrined mandate of LGUs to protect and preserve our natural resources, including all coastal areas,” Año said.
“Inaasahan po natin ang pangunguna ng ating mga LGU sa pagtiyak na ang mga FMA sa bansa ay napapangalagaan,” he added.
Earlier, the Department of Agriculture issued Fisheries Administrative Order (DA FAO) No. 263, s. 2019 which pushes for the creation of FMAs that are fully functional and supervised by a governing body.
In support of the DA directive, Año issued DILG Memorandum Circular 2020-121 directing LGUs to be part of the multi-sectoral Management Board and to work with other sectors in ensuring that the shared resources and fish stocks within the FMAs are properly managed.
One or more local chief executive (LCE) of LGUs, Año explained, shall co-chair the said management board, together with the BFAR Regional Fisheries Office.
“Aquatic and fisheries resources are aspects of local governance that demand LGUs’ attention and with a representative from the LGUs in the FMA Management Board, matitiyak natin na ang mga bayan sa coastal areas ay may katuwang sa pangangalaga sa mga resources nito,” he said.
Regional composition of the 12 FMAs are as follows: Regions 2, 3, 4A, and 5 for FMA 1; Regions 8, 13 and 11 for FMA 2; Regions 12, 9 and BARMM for FMA 3; Regions 6, 7, 9, and BARMM for FMA 4; Regions 4B and 6 for FMA 5; Regions 1, 3, 4A, 4B and NCR for FMA 6; Regions 4A, 5, and 8 for FMA 7; Regions 8 and 13 for FMA 8; Regions 7, 8, 9, 10, and 13 for FMA 9; Regions 7, and 8 for FMA 10; Regions 5, 6, 7, and 8 for FMA 11; and, Regions 4A, 4B, 5, and 6 for FMA 12.
Fisheries management plan
Año also urged LGUs to participate in the development of the FMA Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) Plan or EAFM Framework which will lay down the policies and strategic actions of the FMA to be implemented by he LGUs and BFAR field offices within the FMA.
“EAFM Plans are the localized plans to translate the goals, objectives, and strategic directions of the FMA into actions kaya hinihiling ang masiglang pakikiisa ng mga pamahalaang lokal para ito ay mabuo,” Año said.