Let’s join ‘Karagathon’! It’s catch-up time for PH gov’t in terms of fight against illegal fishing
Fighting illegal fishing requires transparency in ocean governance, and the Philippine government is already finally and slowly realizing it.
As a step towards enhanced monitoring, control, and surveillance of fishing activities, the Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and the Department of Science and Technology – Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) recently Oceana for the launch of the first Karagathon in the Philippines.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the holding of Karagathon is a way of addressing illegal fishing activities and ensuring sustainable fish production for the benefit of small fisherfolk and their families in all coastal areas nationwide.
Oceana Vice President Gloria Estenzo Ramos is now urging tech-savvy individuals and teams to join Karagathon and submit technology solutions for our ocean until July 15, 2020.
The first Karagathon will focus on developing technology-based innovations to address the gaps in monitoring, controlling and tracking down illegal fishing activities in different parts of the country.
Oceana reported the presence of presumably commercial fishing activities in the municipal waters using Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) technology and this intensified during the enhanced community quarantine period in March to May than in January-February this year.
VIIRS is a satellite sensor that can detect fishing boats that employ lights to attract fish at night.
According to Global Fishing Watch, transparency “not only supports ocean conservation, but can also protect local economies by helping to reveal persistent illegal behavior of industrial fishing vessels and reward compliant vessels with easier access to port to land their catch. It is a cost-effective method of monitoring and control.”
In another statement released to the media, DOST-ASTI recognizes the seriousness of illegal fishing and its adverse effects on the marine ecosystem and the economy.
“We are confident that through the Karagathon 2020 competition, we can showcase Filipino ingenuity in leveraging science and technology to provide innovative solutions to address this challenge,” the agency said.
Oceana is an international advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the world’s oceans. Since 2014, Oceana has been working closely with national and local government agencies, civil society, fisherfolk and other stakeholders to restore the abundance of Philippine fisheries and marine resources.