ARMM eyes on topping municipal fishing boat registration
Cotabato City (18 May 2015) – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BFAR-ARMM) is eyeing to top the national government’s boat registration program.
“There are at least 10,000 municipal fishing boats in the region that we would register,” said Janice Musali, BFAR-ARMM’s director, noting the registration would eventually result in improved performance of the region’s municipal fishery sector.
Compared with other regions, ARMM has a bigger municipal fishery area with the island provinces of Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Basilan under its jurisdiction. It is estimated that up to 70% of the region, said Director Musali, comprises municipal waters, or waters 15 kilometers from the coastline, that provide livelihood to small fisherfolk in coastal communities.
The registration program, dubbed ‘BoatR’, targets to document fishing boats with capacities up to three gross tons. The drive, BFAR national officials earlier told media, is aimed at capturing a more accurate picture on production volume and type of fish caught in municipal waters as well as the sector’s contribution to national and local economies.
The program also seeks to determine projects that would be launched by the government in order to help small fisherman and coastal communities. A government-issued card would make it easier for boat owners to access assistance from government agencies.
ARMM is currently coordinating BoatR’s implementation with local government units, from the provinces to towns and coastal communities. The region’s municipal fishery output in 2009, the latest available, was roughly 104,000 metric tons, or about 12% of the 887,000 metric tons total reported during that year. Such estimate would be more accurate under the BoatR program.
Aside from the three island provinces mentioned above, ARMM also includes Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao in the main island of Mindanao. The economic upliftment of marginal fishing communities are among the priority programs of the regional government led by Governor Mujiv S. Hataman. (Bureau of Public Information)