The 1st KARAGATHON will focus on the technology-based innovations to address the challenges in fully implementing fisheries and related laws that directly affect the health and resiliency of our seas and our fisheries.
Develop solutions to detect, identify and analyze, and recommend solutions to illegal fishing in the Philippines.
The Philippines’ maritime domain, consisting of municipal waters, territorial/internal waters and exclusive economic zone, is seven (7) times larger than its terrestrial area.. This vast expanse of marine waters holds the most valuable source of marine-based food products that sustains the protein requirements of most Filipinos. Inherent to this large area of marine waters is the effective enforcement of Philippine laws such as the Fisheries Code (RA 8550) as amended by RA 10654
The capacity to track and detect violations is an important element in law enforcement. Thus, more effective means of detection have to be employed by our national and local enforcement agencies in our waters.
Requiring transparency in the actions and behavior of commercial fishing vessels through the installation of vessel monitoring technology in each boat is an important feature of RA 10564. Tracking movements of the commercial fishing vessels is now done using space-based technologies such as what Global Fishing Watch is availing and these are freely accessible and may provide a cost-effective means of enforcement.
The Karagatan Patrol uses data from Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), a satellite sensor that can detect fishing boats that employ lights to attract fish at night.
Under our laws, specifically the Local Government Code (RA 7160) and the Fisheries Code (RA 8550 as amended by RA 10654), local government units from coastal municipalities and cities have the mandate to protect the rights of fisherfolks in the preferential use of the municipal waters. Municipal waters are marine waters fifteen (15) kilometers from the coastline and these areas are the most productive part of the seas attracting all sorts of fishing activities including those that are prohibited under the law such as fishing by commercial fishing vessels 3.1 gross tons and above. Illegal commercial fishing is among the major threats in the municipal waters apart from overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and coastal development.
Establishing physical boundaries in these municipal waters is a challenge unless technology is used as a tool (GPS, etc) to establish jurisdiction when a violation is committed (i.e. commercial fishing boats fishing or encroaching municipal waters under the jurisdiction of a particular local government)
To the consternation of municipal fisherfolk, and as Karagatan Patrol subscribers have shared, commercial fishing boats still enter the 15-kilometer municipal waters and other prohibited zones regularly without the local government units that have jurisdiction knowing it is occurring or, in other cases, not even taking action to implement fisheries laws. While there is a technology that detects lights of fishing vessels, it does not cover boats turning off their lights and those that operate at day time. The government will be installing trackers on all the commercial fishing boats soon but there will always be boats that may not comply or turn off their trackers when they fish in prohibited zones.
Fisheries law enforcers or anyone observing commercial fishing activity in the municipal waters has to establish that these activities are within the prohibited zone before responding considering that enforcement entails costs. But from afar they have difficulty in identifying the boat, including the size, fishing gears and other information about the boat
There are at least 5 laws that govern commercial fishing in the Philippines, Among these are: Fisheries Code as amended by RA 10654, labor law, anti-trafficking law, domestic shipping law and merchant marine law. There are at least 30 agencies tasked to enforce them.
While the Bureau of Fisheries has adjudicators that are tasked to investigate and penalize administratively violations and render timely decisions but they, and the prosecutors and judges, have to be equipped with readily accessible facts and circumstances of the case to render fair jdugment
Lastly, due to the current state of enforcement in the Philippines, it is common for fishing vessels to commit multiple violations in the same area or in other areas. Under the amended Fisheries Code of the Philippines, a fishing vessel committing multiple violations can be sanctioned through cancellation or suspension of their fishing permit. But without a repository or system for tracking and monitoring violations of fishing vessels in various jurisdiction, this sanction might remain on paper and will not be a deterrence to comply with the law.
Solutions can be in any coding language. It is recommended that the created solutions can run on any of the following platforms :
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