Too few fish, too many
mouths to feed
Philippine seas supply food for the whole
country and livelihood for millions of people. Fisheries are economically,
culturally, socially and ecologically important to all Filipinos. These
resources are in crisis as evidenced by the declining fish catch, size
and species composition around the country.
The current condition of fisheries in the Philippines
and worldwide is bleak. Overfishing, illegal fishing and habitat destruction
combined with increased demand for fish and population growth continue
to drive fisheries production into a deeper abyss. Seemingly impossible
just 20 years ago, protein deficiency among fishing communities is now
increasing at an alarming rate.
Table 1. FISHERIES MANAGEMENT
PROBLEMS IN THE PHILIPPINES
- Loss of marine biodiversity
- Declining fish stocks
- Loss of revenues and benefits from fisheries
and coastal resources
- Illegal and destructive fishing
- Coastal and habitat degradation
- Siltation and pollution
- Post-harvest losses
- Inefficient marketing
- Inequitable distribution of benefits from fisheries and coastal
- Open access
- Inter- and intra-sectoral conflicts
- Low awareness and participation in management
- Lack of employment/poverty among municipal fishers
- Low awareness of the implications of overpopulation and food
- Lack of delivery mechanisms for reproductive health programs
in rural coastal communities
- Inconsistent policies and programs for sustainable fisheries
- Continued investments in production-oriented programs
- Conflicting and fragmented national policies
- Weak institutional and stakeholder capacity to plan and implement
- Absence of a vision for institutional change to support sustainable
- Inadequate technical and financial support to LGU fisheries
- Weak and inadequate law enforcement
- Inadequate interagency coordination mechanisms for fisheries
and coastal resource management
- Lack of a constituency for sustainable fisheries
- Low awareness and understanding of the implications of overfishing
on food security and economic development
- Polarization of stakeholders over means to achieve sustainable
The solutions to address these problems are challenging.
Tough decisions must be made to stabilize and reverse the negative trends
plaguing fisheries and coastal habitats today. Fisheries and coastal resource
management must be prioritized by national and local stakeholders to ensure
food on the table today, and fish catch in the future and continued economic
benefits from the rich coastal ecosystems of the Philippines.
Develop ecosystem-based fisheries management program to address critical
threats to fisheries and other coastal resources.
Philippine fisheries decline.
1. Dalzell P., P. Corpuz, R. Ganaden and
D. Pauly, 1987. Estimation of Maximum Sustainable Yield and Maximum Economic
Rent from the Philippine Small Pelagic Fisheries: BFAR Tech Pap. Ser.
10(3): 23 p.
National Statistics Office. 2000.