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C. Fisheries Code

1. CRIMES

a. Unauthorized Fishing

Modes

1) It shall be unlawful for any person to capture or gather or to cause the capture or gathering of fish, fry or fingerlings of any fishery species or fishery products without license or permit from the Department or LGU.

2) Except in cases specified under this Code, it shall also be unlawful for any commercial fishing vessel to fish in municipal waters.

3) It shall be unlawful for any person not listed in the registry of municipal fisherfolk to engage in any commercial fishing activity in municipal waters. (Section 86[a][b], R.A. 8550, Fisheries Code, as amended by R.A. 10654)

PRIMA FACIE PRESUMPTION: The discovery of any person in possession of a fishing gear or operating a fishing vessel in a fishing area where he has no license or permit shall constitute & prima facie presumption that the person is engaged in unauthorized fishing: Provided, That fishing for daily food sustenance or for leisure which is not for commercial, occupation or livelihood purposes may be allowed. (Ibid.)

b. Engaging in Unauthorized Fisheries Activities

It shall be unlawful for any person to exploit, occupy, produce, breed or culture fish, fry or fingerlings of any fishery species or fishery products or construct and operate fish corrals, fish traps, fish pens and fish cages or fishponds without a license, lease or permit. (Section 87, Ibid.)

PRIMA FACIE PRESUMPTION: The discovery of any person engaging in any of the above activities without a lease, license or permit shall constitute & prima facie presumption that the person is engaged in unauthorized fisheries activity. (Paragraph 2, Section 87, Ibid.)

c. Failure to Secure Fishing Permit Prior to Engaging in Distant Water Fishing

Modes

1) It shall be unlawful for any person to fish in the high seas, in the territorial seas, archipelagic waters, and Exclusive Economic Zones of other states using a Philippine flagged fishing vessel without first securing a fishing permit from the Department and authorization from the coastal state. (Section 88[a], Ibid.)

2) It shall be unlawful for an owner or operator, and the three (3) highest officers, of a commercial fishing vessel to commit acts that are in contravention of the terms and conditions stated in the fishing permit or as may be promulgated by the Department. (Section 88[a][b], Ibid.)

PRIMA FACIE PRESUMPTION: The discovery of any person in possession of a fishing gear or operating a fishing vessel in the abovementioned areas without a fishing permit from the Department or authorization from the coastal state shall constitute a prima facie presumption that the person is in violation of this provision. (Paragraph 2, Section 88[a], Ibid.)

d. Unreported Fishing

It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in unreported fishing or to fail to comply with the reportorial requirements in Section 38 of this Code. (Section 89, Ibid.)

e. Unregulated Fishing

It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in unregulated fishing in waters within and beyond national jurisdiction. (Section 90, Ibid.)

f. Poaching in Philippine Waters

It shall be unlawful for any foreign person, corporation or entity to fish or operate any fishing vessel in Philippine waters. (Section 91, Ibid.)

PRIMA FACIE PRESUMPTION: The entry of any foreign fishing vessel in Philippine waters shall constitute a prima facie presumption that the vessel is engaged in fishing in Philippine waters. (Paragraph 2, Section 91, Ibid.)

g. Fishing Through Explosives, Noxious or Poisonous Substance, or Electricity

It shall be unlawful for any person to catch, take or gather or cause to be caught, taken or gathered fish or any fishery species in Philippine waters with the use of explosives, noxious or poisonous substance such as sodium cyanide, which will kill, stupefy, disable or render unconscious fish or fishery species: Provided, That the Department, subject to such safeguards and conditions deemed necessary and with the endorsement from the concerned LGUs, may allow, for research, educational or scientific purposes only, the use of poisonous or noxious substances to catch, take or gather fish or fishery species: Provided, further, That the use of poisonous or noxious substances to eradicate predators and pests in fishponds in accordance with accepted scientific practices and without causing adverse environmental impact in neighboring waters and grounds shall not be construed as illegal fishing. (Section 92[a], Ibid.)

2) It shall be unlawful for any person to possess explosives, and noxious or poisonous substances for illegal fishing. (Section 92[b], Ibid.)

PRIMA FACIE PRESUMPTION: The discovery of dynamite, other explosives and chemical compounds which contain combustible elements, or noxious or poisonous substances, or equipment or device for electrofishing in any fishing vessel or in the possession of any fisherfolk, operator, fishing boat official or fishworker shall constitute a prima facie presumption that any of these devices was used for fishing in violation of this Code. (Paragraph 2, Section 92[b], Ibid.)

SAME: The discovery in any fishing vessel of fish caught or killed with the use of explosives, noxious or poisonous substances, or by electricity shall constitute a prima facie presumption that the fisherfolk, operator, boat official or fishworker is fishing with the use thereof. (Paragraph 3, Section 92[b], Ibid.)

h. Use of Fine Mesh Net

It shall be unlawful to engage in fishing using nets with mesh smaller than that which may be determined by the Department: Provided, That the prohibition on the use of fine mesh net shall not apply to the gathering of fry, glass eels, elvers, tabios, and alamang and other species that by their nature are small but already mature, as identified in the implementing rules and regulations by the Department. (Section 93, Ibid.)

PRIMA FACIE PRESUMPTION: The discovery of a fine mesh net in a fishing vessel shall constitute a prima facie presumption that the person or fishing vessel is engaged in fishing with the use of fine mesh net. (Paragraph 2, Section 93, Ibid.)

i. Fishing in Overexploited Fishery Management Areas

It shall be unlawful for any person to fish in fishery management areas declared as overexploited. (Section 94, Ibid.)

i. Use of Active Gear in Municipal Waters, Bays and Other Fishery Management Areas

It shall be unlawful to engage in fishing in municipal waters and in all bays as well as other fishery management areas using active fishing gears as defined in this Code. (Section 95, Ibid.)

j. Ban on Coral Exploitation and Exportation

It shall be unlawful for any person or corporation to gather, possess, commercially transport, sell or export ordinary, semi-precious and precious corals, whether raw or in processed form, except for scientific or research purposes. It shall also be unlawful for any person, corporation or entity to commit any activity that damage coral reefs. (Section 96, Ibid.)

k. Ban on Muro-ami, Other Methods and Gear Destructive to Coral Reefs and Other Marine Habitat

Modes

1) It shall be unlawful for any person, natural or juridical, to fish with gear or method that destroys coral reefs, seagrass beds, and other fishery marine life habitat as may be determined by the Department. ‘Muro-ami’ and any of its variation, and such similar gears and methods that require diving, other physical or mechanical acts to pound the coral reefs and other habitat to entrap, gather or catch fish and other fishery species are also prohibited.

2) Except in cases allowed by law, it shall be unlawful for any person, natural or juridical, to gather, possess, commercially transport, sell or export coral sand, coral fragments, coral rocks, silica, and any other substances which make up any marine habitat. (Section 97[a][b], Ibid.)

l. Illegal Use of Superlights or Fishing Light Attractor

It shall be unlawful to engage in fishing with the use of superlight in municipal waters, or to fish with fishing light attractor using candlelight power or intensity beyond the standards set by the Department in consultation with the LGUs for fishing in municipal waters, or in violation of the rules promulgated by the Department for fishing with the use of superlight or fishing light attractor outside municipal waters. (Section 98, Ibid.)

m. Conversion of Mangroves

It shall be unlawful for any person to convert mangroves into fishponds or for any other purpose. (Section 99, Ibid.)

n. Fishing During Closed Season

It shall be unlawful to fish during closed season. (Section 100, Ibid.)

o. Fishing in Marine Protected Areas, Fishery Reserves, Refuge and Sanctuaries

It shall be unlawful to fish in marine protected areas, fishery reserves, refuge, or fish sanctuaries as declared by the Department or the LGUs. (Section 101, Ibid.)

p. Fishing or Taking of Rare, Threatened or Endangered Species

Modes

1) It shall be unlawful to fish or take, catch, gather, sell, purchase, possess, transport, export, forward or ship out aquatic species listed in Appendix I of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), or those categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) as threatened and determined by the Department as such.

2) It shall be unlawful to fish, take, catch, gather, sell, purchase, possess, transport, export, forward or ship out aquatic species listed in CITES Appendices II and III if scientific assessments show that population of the species in the wild cannot remain viable under pressure of collection and trade: Provided, That the taking or fishing of these species from the wild for scientific research, or conservation breeding simultaneous with commercial breeding may be allowed.

3) It shall be unlawful to gather, take, possess, transport, or export, forward or ship out captive-bred species that have been transplanted to the wild. (Section 102[a][b][c], Ibid.)

PRESUMPTION: Should the violation be committed by a vessel manned by more than two (2) persons, the captain, master, and two highest ranking officers of the vessel involved in the fishing or taking of such protected marine life shall be presumed to have committed the prohibited act. (Last paragraph, Section 102, Ibid.)

q. Capture of Sabalo and Other Breeders/Spawners

It shall be unlawful for any person to catch, gather, capture or possess mature milkfish or sabalo and other breeders or spawners of other fishery species as may be determined by the Department: Provided, That catching of sabalo and other breeders/spawners for local breeding purposes or scientific or research purposes may be allowed subject to guidelines that shall be promulgated by the Department. (Section 103, Ibid.)

r. Exportation of Breeders, Spawners, Eggs or Fry

Exportation of breeders, spawners, eggs or fry as prohibited in this Code shall be punished under this Act: Provided, That the export of hatchery-bred or captive-bred breeder, spawner, egg or fry, may be allowed subject to the regulations to be promulgated by the Department. (Section 104, Ibid.)

PRESUMPTION: Failure on the part of the shipping or forwarding company from whose possession the breeders, spawners, eggs, or fry are discovered or seized to fully cooperate in the investigation conducted by concerned government authorities on the matter shall create a presumption that there is connivance or conspiracy between the company and the shipper to violate the provisions of this section. (Paragraph 2, Section 104, Ibid.)

s. Importation or Exportation of Fish or Fishery Species

Any importation or exportation of fish or fishery species in violation of this Code shall be unlawful. (Section 105, Ibid.)

PRESUMPTION: Failure on the part of the shipping or forwarding company from whose possession the fish or fishery species imported or exported are discovered or seized to fully cooperate in the investigation conducted by concerned government authorities shall create a presumption that there is connivance or conspiracy between the shipping company and the shipper to perpetrate the aforementioned offense. (Paragraph 2, Section 105, Ibid.)

t. Violation of Harvest Control Rules

It shall be unlawful for any person to fish in violation of harvest control rules as determined by the Department. (Section 106, Ibid.)

u. Aquatic Pollution

Aquatic pollution, as defined in this Code, shall be unlawful. (Section 107, Ibid.)

t. Failure to Comply with Minimum Safety Standards

The owner and captain of a commercial fishing vessel engaged in fishing who, upon demand by proper authorities, fails to exhibit or show proof of compliance with the safety standards provided in this Code shall be liable administratively and criminally. (Section 108, Ibid.)

u. Failure to Submit a Yearly Report on All Fishponds, Fish Pens and Fish Cages

It shall be unlawful for owners and operators of fishponds, fishpens and fish cages to fail to submit an annual report to the Department pursuant to Section 57 of this Code. (Section 109, Ibid.)

v. Gathering and Marketing of Shell Fishes or Other Aquatic Species

It shall be unlawful for any person to gather, take, sell, transfer, possess, commercially transport, export, forward or ship out any sexually mature shell fish or other aquatic species identified by the Department, or below the minimum size, or above the maximum quantities prescribed for the species. Other parameters for the protection of heavily traded aquatic species may be promulgated by the Department. (Section 110, Ibid.)

w. Obstruction to Navigation or Flow or Ebb of Tide in any Stream, River, Lake or Bay

It shall be unlawful for any person to cause obstruction to navigation or flow or ebb of tide. (Section 111, Ibid.)

x. Noncompliance with Good Aquaculture Practices

Fishery operations involving the breeding and farming of fish and other fishery species shall comply with good aquaculture practices and the guidelines for environmentally-sound design and operation for the sustainable development of the aquaculture industry which shall be promulgated by the Department. (Section 112, Ibid.)

y. Commercial Fishing Vessel Operators Employing Unlicensed Fisherfolk, Fishworker or Crew

Modes

1) The owner or operator of a commercial fishing vessel employing unlicensed fisherfolk or fishworker or crew shall, upon a summary finding of administrative liability, be fined for each unlicensed fisherfolk or fishworker or crew and suspension or revocation of license for commercial fishing.

2) It shall likewise be unlawful for Philippine flagged fishing vessels engaged in distant water fishing to employ unlicensed fisherfolk or fishworker or crew. (Section 113[a][b], Ibid.)

z. Obstruction of Defined Migration Paths

It shall be unlawful for any person to obstruct any defined migration path of anadromous, catadromous and other migratory species. (Section 114, Ibid.)

aa. Obstruction to Fishery Law Enforcement Officer

The fishing vessel owner, master or operator or any other person acting on behalf of any fishing vessel who assaults, resists, intimidates, harasses, seriously interferes with, or unduly obstructs or delays a fishery law enforcement officer, authorized inspector or observer, the deputized fishwarden of the LGU, or any lawfully-boarding government officers, in the exercise of their duties shall be penalized under this Code. Any person who does not allow any authorized officer or an observer to exercise any of the legal duties shall be deemed to be obstructing that officer or person. (Section 115, Ibid.)

bb. Noncompliance with Fisheries Observer Coverage

Modes

1) It shall be unlawful for Philippine distant water fishing vessel to sail without a fisheries observer on board as required by RFMO conservation and management measures.

2) It shall be unlawful for commercial fishing vessels to sail without a fisheries observer in compliance with this Code and the rules and regulations promulgated by the Department. (Section 116[a][b], Ibid.)

cc. Noncompliance with Port State Measures

No foreign fishing vessel shall be allowed entry without providing at least twenty-four (24)-hour prior notice. When a foreign fishing vessel is granted entry, failure to provide a catch report shall be deemed unlawful. It shall likewise be unlawful for any person to fail to comply with other rules on port state measures promulgated by the Department in coordination with port state authorities. (Section 117, Ibid.)

NON-COMPLIANCE W/ 24-HOUR PERIOD: Failure to comply with the 24-hour period may result in denial of permission to enter or use of port facilities and the vessel may be subject to onboard inspection and/or impoundment. (Paragraph 2, Section 117, Ibid.)

dd. Failure to Comply with Rules and Regulations on Conservation and Management Measures

It shall be unlawful for any person to fail to comply with conservation and management measures adopted in rules and regulations to be promulgated by the Department pursuant to international conventions, RFMO resolutions and laws of coastal states where Philippine vessels fish. (Section 118, Ibid.)

ee. Noncompliance with Vessel Monitoring Measures

No municipal, commercial or distant water fishing vessel shall engage in fishing activity without complying with the vessel monitoring measures promulgated by the Department in coordination with the LGUs: Provided, That for vessels operating in Philippine waters, only the catcher vessel shall be covered by this requirement. It shall also be unlawful to intentionally tamper with, switch off or disable the vessel monitoring system. (Section 119, Ibid.)

ff. Constructing, Importing or Converting Fishing Vessels or Gears Without Permit from the Department

It shall be unlawful for any person to construct or import fishing vessels or gears or to convert other vessels into fishing vessels without permit from the Department. (Section 120, Ibid.)

gg. Use of Unlicensed Gear

Any person who uses a fishing gear or method for commercial fishing without license from the Department shall, upon a summary finding of administrative liability, be fined from Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00) to Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) per gear depending on the seriousness of the violation. (Section 121, Ibid.)

hh. Falsifying, Concealing or Tampering with Vessel Markings, Identity or Registration

It shall be unlawful for any person to falsify, conceal vessel identity or lack of registration or tamper with the vessel markings, identity or registration. (Section 122, Ibid.)

ii. Concealing, Tampering or Disposing of Evidence Relating to an Investigation of a Violation

It shall be unlawful for any person to conceal, tamper or dispose evidence relating to an investigation of a violation. (Section 123, Ibid.)

jj. Noncompliance with the Requirements for the Introduction of Foreign or Exotic Aquatic Species

It shall be unlawful to import, introduce, or breed, foreign or exotic aquatic species without the conduct of risk analysis and prior approval of the Department. (Section 124, Ibid.)

kk. Failure to Comply with Standards and Trade-Related Measures

It shall be unlawful for any person to fail to comply with standards for weights, volume, quality and other requirements for all fishery transactions and trade and trade-related measures prescribed by the Department. (Section 125, Ibid.)

ll. Possessing, Dealing in or Disposing Illegally Caught or Taken Fish

It shall be unlawful to ship, commercially transport, offer for sale, sell, import, export, or have custody, control, or possession of, or to deal in or in any manner dispose of any fish or species caught, taken or retained in violation of this Code. (Section 126, Ibid.)

PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE: The discovery of any fish or species caught with the use of explosives or noxious or poisonous substances shall constitute a prima facie presumption that the possessor, seller, fish dealer, transporter, importer, or exporter thereof has knowledge that the fish or species was caught or taken in violation of this Code. (Paragraph 2, Section 126, Ibid.)

mm. Unauthorized Disclosure of Sensitive Technical Information

Data from the vessel monitoring system or vessel monitoring measure and other related data arising therefrom shall be considered as sensitive technical information. Any unauthorized disclosure of said data including all other data referred to in Section 155 in this Code, by any person shall be penalized with imprisonment of six (6) months and one day to six (6) years, removal from office and forfeiture of all retirement benefits, where applicable. (Section 127, Ibid.)

nn. Other Violations

In addition to the prohibitions in this Code, the Department, in consultation with the LGUs, local FARMCs and NFARMC, shall issue fishery administrative orders or regulations for the conservation, preservation, management and sustainable development of fisheries and aquatic resources. (Section 128, Ibid.)

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