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Period The history of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources began when the country’s civil government was established on 4 July 1901. It was the Philippine Commission who conceived the idea of creating an office under the Department of Interior to take charge of the conservation, promotion and development of the country’s fisheries resources. Despite the keen interest of the Secretary of Interior, the proposal for the creation of the said office did not materialize. Finally, in 1907, studies on fisheries emerged when the Secretary of the Interior sought the services of the U.S. Fish Commission’s research fishing vessel “Albatross” to work in Philippine waters for eighteen months. - Read More

The Division of Fisheries, as a special division under the Department of Agriculture and Commerce functioned until the outbreak of World War II in 1941. During the early days of the war, the Division of Fisheries and the Bureau of Forestry were merged together and became known as the Bureau of Forestry and Fishery. In the latter part of the enemy’s occupation, however, the Division of Fisheries was converted into an independent office known as the Bureau of Fisheries.

Three years after liberation from the enemy’s occupation, the Congress of the Philippines, cognizant of the importance of fisheries and aquatic resources conservation to the rehabilitation of the country’s prostrate economy brought about by the war, enacted Republic Act No. 177 creating the Bureau of Fisheries which took effect on 1 July 1947. The former Division of Fisheries and its sections, field districts, and experimental stations including all fishery-related activities of national government agencies were integrated in the Bureau of Fisheries. Read More

Executive Order No. 216, dated 17 November 1956 implemented Reorganization Plan No. 30-A reorganizing the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Following this event, the Bureau of Fisheries which was reorganized on 16 January 1957, almost a decade after its creation. With this reorganization, functional divisions of the Bureau had been reduced from seven to five, namely: 1) Licenses and Regulations Division; (2) Marine Fisheries Division; (3) Fisheries Research Division; (4) Inland Fisheries Division; and (5) Administrative Services Division. - Read More

 

At the dawn of the new decade during the 70s, a new reorganization initiative was introduced. On 20 September 1972, under the Integrated Reorganization Plan, the Philippine Fisheries Commission was reverted to the Bureau of Fisheries. Two years thereafter, by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 461 signed on 17 May 1974 which reorganized the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Natural Resources, the agency was renamed as Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, and thus the birth of the acronym “BFAR”. Read More

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources remained with the Ministry of Natural Resources for one decade until the agency was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food on 30 June 1984 in compliance with Executive Order No. 967 mandating the conversion of BFAR as a staff Bureau and integrating its Regional Offices with the Regional Offices of the Department of Agriculture. The agency’s staff function and integration of its regional offices to the Department of Agriculture was fully implemented on 30 January 1987 with the issuance of Executive Order 116 signed by former President Corazon C. Aquino. Read More

While at the height of Social Reform Agenda (SRA) implementation where the government actively pushed for the equal access to development opportunities in addressing the long-standing problem of poverty among other related issues including that of the environment, on 25 February 1998 President Fidel V. Ramos signed into law Republic Act No. 8550 entitled, “An Act Providing for the Development, Management and Conservation of the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Integrating All Laws Pertinent Thereto and for Other Purposes,” otherwise known as the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 which took effect on 23 March 1998. Read More

Despite some limitations in fully implementing the provisions of the Philippine Fisheries Code, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources undoubtedly benefited from the said law to improve its capabilities in serving the fishery sector. Nevertheless, the agency was haunted with myriad of challenges when the new millennium had set in. One of which is the threat brought about by unabated illegal, unreported and unregulated or IUU fishing which undermines not only the sustainability of the country’s fisheries and aquatic resources, but also the livelihood of people depending on them. It was during this period that the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources’ (DA-BFAR) research arm, the National Fisheries Research Development Institute through the National Stock Assessment Project or NSAP revealed that 10 out of 13 of the country’s fishing grounds have shown signs of overfishing. - Read More

The DA-BFAR opened a new chapter in history when the Duterte Administration had formally assumed into office during the middle part of 2016. This was when the organization focused on achieving fish sufficiency through improved yet sustainable fisheries production, while contributing to the government’s effort towards food security. It was also during this period when the relentless campaign against IUU fishing was prioritized under the Department of Agriculture’s “Ten Basic Foundations of a Sound Agriculture and Fisheries.” Read More