Posted by: Jimely Flores | November 15, 2013

Philippines BSC Updates

As of today, 15 November 2013, blue swimming crab landings in the Philippines may have reduced significantly together with other fish and marine organisms harvested from the sea. This is because a large percentage of the fishers/crabbers communities were wrecked by Typhoon Haiyan.

The Management Plan for the Philippines Blue swimming crab was approved by the National Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council (NFARMC) on September 17, 2012. It is the framework for the management of the blue swimming crab resources and fisheries in the country (www.bfar.da.gov.ph). It has however no regulatory power, its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) in the form of Fisheries Administrative Order has to be developed and should undergo a robust consultation process to all stakeholders as prescribed by law. As of this time, the IRR is still on its consultation process. Kudos to BFAR for baking their part of the pie.

The other players, particularly the processors, has yet to do their job. Greenwashing seems to be more of the story here however. Educational campaigns that should focus on increasing the awareness of the community on the need to sustainably exploit the crabs is instead focus on the association being portrayed as doing good things such as stock enhancement. This best fall on the greenwashing sin of hidden trade-off. Stock enhancement has even greater danger, tampering with the natural ecosystem’s balance. Most particularly that, there is no protocol whatsoever in monitoring its probable effect and impacts. I wonder if this fall as violation of the Cartagena Protocol, the Philippines is a signatory to. DENR and BFAR should look at these possibilities to prevent possible damages to biodiversity and the ecosystem.

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