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Legal Bases of Catch Documentation and Traceability System

Orientation Seminar on the Legal Basis of Catch Documentation and Traceability


In order to increase the awareness of stakeholders on the legal basis of the Catch Documentation and Traceability, SOCSKSARGEN Federation of Fishing and Allied Industries, Inc. in partnership with USAID Oceans and Fisheries Partnership held an Orientation Seminar on the Legal Basis of Catch Documentation and Traceability System last November 22, 2017 at the East Asia Royale Hotel, General Santos City. It aimed to apprise the stakeholders on the different legal instruments and other related regulations in the development and implementation of a catch documentation and traceability system.

The seminar was attended by 74 tuna industry stakeholders. Attendees were from 3 handline operators- Raul Gonzales, Jebo Fishing, and Ronnie Delos Santos), 6 purse seine operators (Marchael Sea Ventures, Thunnidae Ventures, Rell and Renn Fishing Corporation, Dex Sea Trading, Rell and Renn Fishing Corporation and RD Fishing) 7 canneries (Citramina Canning Corporation, Philbest Canning Corporation, Oceans Canning Corporation, Seatrade Canning Corporation, General Tuna Canning Corporation, Alliance Select Foods International Inc., Celebes Canning Corp, and Celebes Canning Corporation) and members of the Fresh Frozen Seafood Association of the Philippines (Sta. Cruz Seafood Inc, Rell and Renn Seafood Sphere Inc, Ten Point Manufacturing Corporation, Mommy Gina Tuna Resources, and PhilCinmic Industrial Corp) were present during the seminar.


International Conventions and Regional Fisheries Management Organizations

The Philippines is a member of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea and to different Tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organizations.

Invited speaker Atty. Felipe Benjamin S. Tabios of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources presented the different international and local policies, legal and regulatory framework in relation to the establishment of a catch documentation and traceability system.

The speaker initially presented articles of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNLCOS) relating to the utilization of living resources, fishing in the high seas, and cooperation of the states in the conservation and management of living resources. The Law of the Sea Convention calls for all states to cooperate directly or through appropriate international organizations with a view to ensuring conservation and promoting the objective of optimum utilization of such species—straddling fish stocks and highly migratory species- throughout the region, both within and beyond the EEZ”.  

The Philippines is a member of three (3) Tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organization (RFMO) - Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT); and a cooperating non-member of Convention for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna.

Atty. Tabios presented the different RFMOs’ conservation and management measures (CMM) that were established to ensure, through effective management, the long-term conservation and sustainable use of highly migratory fish stocks, such as Tuna, in their respective convention areas. Atty. Tabios then discussed the different conservation and management compatible measures of the Philippines in compliance to the different RFMO CMMs on the following:

1. Establishment of a Vessel Monitoring System [VMS],
2. Regional Observer Program [ROP],
3. Catch Documentation System [CDS], and
4. Rules on Transshipment

The Philippine Traceability Policy- BAC 251

For the Philippine Tuna exporters to the European Union, BFAR Administrative Circular No. 251 Series of 2014 otherwise known as the “Traceability System for Fish and Fishery Products”, has been their go-to-guide export checklist.  This circular establishes the traceability system for wild-caught and farmed fish and other aquatic products and shall apply to all Fisheries and Aquatic Business Operators (FABOs) and business operators directly and indirectly involved in the production and processing of fishery and aquatic products for export.

Atty. Tabios presented the Tuna Industry supply chain and the different critical tracking events when important information are to be gathered and reported to the catch documentation and traceability system. He reiterated the need for data collection not only as an export requirement but also for stock assessment and marine spatial planning efforts— catch documentation scheme is one of the most valuable and comprehensive methods for collecting fisheries statistics at a reasonable cost.
Recently, the Philippine Government has strengthened its policy, legal and regulatory framework with the passage of RA 10654 s. 2015 amending RA 8550 or the Fisheries Code of 1998.


For the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Administrative Circular 251 s. 2014, please visit www.bfar.da.gov.ph
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