AN innovative tool has been introduced to Ivisan and Sapian coastal municipalities to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in Capiz province and protect its marine ecosystems. A two-day event at the Islands Hotel, Pueblo De Panay, Lawaan Roxas City, Capiz, recently unveiled the IUU Fishing Index and Threat Assessment Tool (I-FIT). The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-Capiz (BFAR-Capiz), the Capiz Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Offi ce (PENRO), SIKAT Inc., and the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist collaborated to make the crucial initiative possible. The I-FIT rollout has
multiple goals to combat IUU fishing in Ivisan and Sapian. I-FIT first assesses IUU fishing in these municipalities to understand the problem’s scope. The tool also helps local government units (LGUs)
identify threats in their municipal waters, improving IUU fishing assessments.
I-FIT’s data collection and analysis will also help decision- makers and policymakers understand IUU Fishing’s regional impact. The tool will also enable cross-municipality comparisons, improving the region’s IUU fishing control strategy. I-FIT hopes to usher in a new era of sustainable fisheries management and conservation by nurturing LGU capacity and shifting from tactical enforcement to compliance-focused measures.
A diverse and engaged group of participants at the I-FIT roll-out event showed their commitment to fighting IUU fishing in Sapian and Ivisan. The Municipal Agriculturist offices of Sapian and Ivisan, Fisheries Technicians from both municipalities and Municipal Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Councils of both municipalities were represented, emphasizing the role of local authorities and experts infisheries management. Bantay Dagat representatives also emphasized the importance of community- based IUU fishing control.
Municipal Planning and Development Offices and Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officers
(MENRO) of Sapian and Ivisan provided insights on a holistic approach to environmental conservation at the event. The Philippine National Police’s involvement in IUU fishing deterrence shows law enforcement’s importance, while Capiz’s Provincial Government was helpful. In addition, BFAR 6– Provincial Fisheries Office (PFO) Capiz, I-FIT Focal personnel, and SIKAT Capiz Inc. demonstrated the collaborative effort needed to address IUU fishing. This diverse group shows its commitment to protecting Capiz’s marine
ecosystems and fisheries. The introduction of the I-FIT tool improves Capiz’s coastal IUU Fishing control.
This initiative should improve enforcement, promote sustainability, and preserve the region’s marine biodiversity for future generations.