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Seas head for 'unprecedented' crisis

Greenpeace warns that fishing industry is in deep trouble

  • ucanews.com reporter, Sorsogon
  • Philippines
  • October 25, 2012
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The Philippines is facing "unprecedented destruction" of its marine ecosystem due to pollution and overfishing, international environmental group Greenpeace warned today.

"We are in deep trouble. The government must acknowledge that our seas are in crisis," said Vince Cinches, Oceans Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia, at a community conference in Donsol, Sorsogon province.

He said the country needs marine reserves and must reduce its fishing capacity to sustainable levels.

"Our seas are already under threat from massive overfishing and decades of unsustainable fishing practices that have resulted in today’s dwindling fish catches," Cinches said.

Monsignor Angel Dy of the Sorsogon Social Action Foundation Inc. also pointed out the threat from illegal commercial fishing.

He said fisher folk in Sorsogon and elsewhere cannot compete with large commercial fishing vessels that encroach on restricted waters.

"We know that illegal and unregulated fishing is rampant in our waters, and yet no one seems to be doing anything about it," he said.

He added that several bishops have already appealed to President Benigno Aquino to ban commercial vessels from the province's waters but they continue to fish in the area.

In Donsol, fishermen have complained of poor catches this year. Most can barely catch enough to give them a decent day’s wage.

Greenpeace says that about 1.2 million jobs in the fishing, tourism and the food industries will be directly affected by poor marine management.

Philippine Fisheries has an annual estimated production of 6,000,000 metric tons of fish, but there has been a steady decline due to overfishing, largely attributed to illegal commercial fishing vessels.

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Fish shortage looms, says Greenpeace
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