For eight weeks this summer I will be in the Philippines as part of the Global Summer Internship Program as well as the Global Fisheries Legal Education Program (“GFLEP”). While in the Philippines I am being hosted by the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (“NFRDI”). During my summer I will have the dual objectives of researching small scale fisheries and aquaculture in the Philippines, as well as investigating the potential for a future GFLEP in the country.
I have spent my first week in the Philippines with the Philippines Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (“BFAR”). I am being hosted by the Legal Division but spent the majority of this week meeting with other departments to learn as much about fisheries and aquaculture in the Philippines as possible. Needless to say this week has been a whirlwind!
In the Philippines, fisheries are mainly regulated by Republic Act 8550 or the Philippines Fisheries Code of 1998. In the Philippines the legislative jurisdiction over fisheries is divided between the federal government and local government units (“LGUs”). LGUs have jurisdiction over any fishing activity that takes place within its boundaries or within 15km of its marine shoreline. In accordance with the divided fisheries jurisdiction, small scale fisheries (or municipal fisheries) are governed by the local government units (“LGUs”). Accordingly the majority of my time with BFAR this week has focused on Philippine aquaculture and a legal instrument called ‘Fishpond Lease Agreements’ (“FLAs”).
Outside of the office, my first week in the Philippines has also been fantastic. Everyone I have met has been incredibly welcoming and more than willing to help. The weather here is ridiculous! During my first two days the temperature reached 51C including humidity but it has thankfully cooled down to a (relatively!) cool 35C. I am staying in one of the more lively Barangays in Quezon City that has a wide range of restaurants and nightlife. Unfortunately jet lag has meant that I haven’t had much time to explore yet but there’s always week 2!
Next week I will still be with BFAR’s Legal Division but will be traveling to Dagupan City and then to Capiz to visit some BFAR Regional Offices.
As they say – it’s always more fun in the Philippines!