Tuna-rich Philippine Rise, seen as PH major food source that needs to be protected

Tuna-rich Philippine Rise, seen as PH major food source that needs to be protected

Executive Order No. 25  was signed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte renaming Benham Rise to Philippine Rise.

This act of the government was to assert the country’s sovereignty over the resource-rich waters amid alleged incursions of foreign ships.

The country was able to prove, and was eventually a was awarded to the country in 2012 by the United Nations after Manila successfully proved that it was part of Isabela province's extended continental shelf.
DA Secretary Manny Piñol headed the expedition to the Philippine Rise last May, seen here holding a freshly caught tuna ( Secretary Piñol photo)

The country spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture is  pushing for the conservation of Philippine Rise, an undersea region east of Luzon, for it to be a rich food source for Filipinos.

"We are advocating the declaration of the Philippine Rise as a Protected Food Supply Exclusive Zone," Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said in his keynote speech at the 14th Regular Session of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) on Sunday.

The Philippine Rise is a 24.4 million hectare marine paradise that lies under the migration path of important tuna species including the Pacific Bluefin tuna.

Piñol noted that tuna, said to be abundant at Philippine Rise, is a top Philippine export commodity with a collective volume of 104,984 metric tons for a variety of fresh, chilled, frozen, smoked, dried, and canned products valued at USD296 million.

"This is the reason why like the rest of the region, tuna fishing means a great deal to the Philippines. It is vital not only in the country’s continuous economic development, but also in providing food and livelihood to millions of Filipinos," the agricultural secretary said.

Piñol believes conservation will enhance Philippine Rise's potential of helping the country achieve food security since this measure promotes efficient use of natural resources to meet present and future needs.

"Whatever we do there will take into consideration conservation," he said in a media conference for the international fish conservation conference hosted by the Philippines at the Philippine International Convention Center this week.

The DA Secretary emphasized the need to conserve the Philippine Rise to ensure the availability of its resources for future generation of Filipinos.

"We must ensure there'll be enough food for Filipinos today and in the future," he said.

The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) is a regional fisheries management organization governing fishing activities -- particularly those for tuna and whale sharks -- in international waters.

"The commission passes conservation and management measures aimed at curbing illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing," said The Philippines' Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) information chief Nazario Briguera.

report from PNA

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