MANILA - A new law aims to professionalize the fisheries profession with the formation of a regulatory board.
President Rodrigo Duterte through Republic Act No. 11398 or the Philippine Fisheries Profession Act, ordered the creation of the Professional Regulatory Board of Fisheries, which is mandated to supervise the practice of the profession.
The new law aims to "provide priority attention and support to professionalize the practice of the fisheries profession in the Philippines, which will be beneficial to sustain food security and economic development of the country, and to upgrade the standards of fisheries education."
Under the measure, the regulatory board shall consist of a chairperson and 4 other members, all of whom should have at least a bachelor's degree in the field of fisheries and engaged in the practice of the profession for at least a decade.
Members of the board shall be appointed by the President and would each serve a 3-year term according to the law.
The board will be responsible for the administration and supervision of licensure examinations for the fisheries profession.
It will also lead the supervision and regulation of the licensure, registration, and practice of the fisheries profession, and the promulgation of a code of ethics and standards of practices for fisheries professionals.
Under the measure, aspiring fisheries professionals are required to take a written exam to be given by the regulatory board at least once a year.
The exam shall cover the fields of Aquatic Resources and Ecology, Aquaculture, Capture Fisheries, and Post-Harvest Fisheries.
The board, however, may change the coverage of the exam as the need arises.
To pass the licensure exam, candidates must obtain at least a 75-percent general average with no grade lower than 60 percent in any subject.
Certain applicants, however, may be registered as fisheries professionals subject to certain conditions set by the law such as having a master's or doctorate degree in fisheries or a closely related field.
The new law also prohibits the unauthorized practice of the fisheries profession without a license.
Violators may be meted with a fine of not less than P50,000 but not more than P500,000, or imprisonment of not less than 6 months or both upon the discretion of the court.