I often get questions about fishing in the Philippines from those thinking of living in the Philippines. So, I decided to research it. I never dreamed it would be as complicated as it is. I am no lawyer and I still have more questions than answers but I did find some useful information. I also sent an email to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) but have not heard back from them yet.
Can A Foreigner Fish In The Philippines
Most of the fishing regulation in the Philippines is covered by RA 8550`. In that document one of the first things you’ll come across is this policy clause:
That caused me to believe that foreigners are not allowed to fish in the Philippines. Most of what I read in the law does. Near the end of the document I found this:
May be allowed is different from shall be allowed. So I still don’t know for sure.
Sport Fishing May Be Allowed In The Philippines
I know that only a citizen can get a license to fish. That is clearly stated in the law. The law also says you must have a license to fish. I thought maybe the definition of “fishing” will provide the answer but it does not.
Even to import a fishing vessel into the Philippines requires approval:
Perhaps it is clear by now why I’m confused on the exact answer. I think if I were to go fishing, I’d have to hire a lawyer to go with me.
I found one guy that gave this a try. He has several videos online about corruption in the Philippines. What he says in these videos struck me as odd from the start. Now that I’ve read this law, I know what he said was bunk.
Maybe he had the boat registered in his wife’s name. Come on, every word he spoke made it clear it was his boat. I’m not going to go into details here because I plan to write another story about people that cry corruption when they clearly are in the wrong.
One thing he claimed in the video was that the locals where taking fish from his nets at night. Well, the fish on those nets were their fish. What he was doing was taking from their livelihood and fishing in the Philippines has not been good in the last few years. Fishermen are having a hard time in recent years. He might have had the fishing vessel in the name of his wife but it was clearly his boat and purchased with his money.
Officials in the Philippines are not stupid. They often refer to this as “Dummies.” In the USA we are familiar with the term dummy corporation. Expats come to the Philippines and set up many different forms of dummy businesses in their spouses name. I don’t think the common sense approach to justice in the Philippines is conducive to those kinds of machinations.
He is lucky to have lost only his boat. If they couldn’t stop his fishing, they could have stopped his breathing. The authorities shot his boat up, making it unusable. Then he claims he has been mistreated and that the government is corrupt.
I also found some expats running a sport fishing business in the Philippines. There was someone doing that out of Cebu but I don’t think it is operational any more. My emails to him on the subject have gone unanswered. I found another one in Luzon. I can’t tell you if it is a good operation and or bad. I’d love to try them out.
I wonder about the legality of it but hopefully he has that worked out and sports fishing is allowed. The Philippines appears to wish that mass fishing operations are limited to Filipinos. Fishing has declined in recent years. Fishing is the livelihood of many Filipinos. Bogo City, where I live, is a fishing village.
Quite a few people have contemplated the idea of operating a fishing business after moving here. That appears to be out of the question. You’ll have to find another way to make money while living in the Philippines.
I wrote BFAR a week or more ago but they have not answered me. I had hoped to get clarification on sports fishing. It appears to be allowed and if I get a chance to do it, I will. Though I’d feel better about taking a lawyer with me if I were to go fishing in the Philippines.
More information about fishing in the Philippines can be found at BFAR.
Picture credit and Fishing Guide in the Philippiens.
Filed under: Living In The Philippines
Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!