Activities & Adventure

Fishing in the Philippines

Written by Patrick
Travel Insurance

With all the islands and seas blessed with rich marine life, fishing is undoubtedly one of the major sources of livelihood in the Philippines.  The fishing industry helps feed and provides the needs of several Filipinos over the years.  Even in Filipino cuisine, seafood has become a big part of it and several tourists love the country for the abundance of fresh and affordable seafood they get to enjoy during their vacation.

Fisheries in the Philippines

Aquaculture in Luzon, Philippines

Caption:  Aquaculture in Luzon, Philippines

Despite all the seas and marine life in the Philippines, not all fishing happens at the sea.  There are actually three types of fisheries in the country – aquaculture, inland capture fishery, and marine capture fishery.

Marine capture fishery, which is the most common, refers to fishing at the sea while aquaculture is involved with the production of aquatic animals and plants under managed and controlled conditions in freshwater, marine water, or brackish water (mixed of fresh and seawater). Inland capture fishery, on the other hand, is fishing in enclosed areas on inland bodies of water like estuaries, lakes, reservoirs, and rivers.

Types of Fishing in the Philippines

Municipal Fishing in Sarangani, Mindanao

Caption:  Municipal Fishing in Sarangani, Mindanao

The type of fishing in the Philippines varies depending on the location and availability of the resources.

Commercial Fishing

This type of fishing occurs at the sea using bigger fishing vessels that are more than three tonnages.  It’s purpose is to catch seafood in bulk for commercial profit and businesses such as seafood processing.  

Municipal Fishing

This refers to fishing done in inland and coastal areas with or without the use of a fishing vessel and simple fishing equipment such as gillnet, handline, small ring nets, and traps.  Vessels should not be more than three tons and could either be motorized or non-motorized.

Traditional Fishing

Traditional fishing is popularly practised in the Philippines even up to this day.  This type of fishing used devices such as spear guns, sling spear, or pole gear.  This refers to spearfishing and is commonly used by indigenous group Badjao (also known as Sea Gypsies and Sama people) in Mindanao.  Another device used for traditional fishing is payaos, a fish aggregating device to attract pelagic fishes like tuna into handlines or fishing nets.  Traditional payaos used to be a bamboo raft but it has been adapted into modern payaos which is made of steel and has fish lights and fish location sonar.  

Recreational fishing

Also referred to as sport fishing, recreational fishing may not be as popular as other water activities or sports in the Philippines but it has become a hobby to many people.  While you can always rent a boat to take you to the best fishing spots, fishing equipment such as rods and reels may not always be available.

Tips When Fishing

Fishing Gear

Caption:  Fishing Gear

  1. Avoid using cyanide or dynamite when fishing.  They destroy the coral reefs and other creatures underwater.  They are also declared illegal and can get you sanctioned when caught.
  2. Several marine areas in the Philippines are protected so be sure to know which areas are allowed for fishing and which marine creatures are endangered so you can avoid them and help prevent their extinction.
  3. Avoid throwing your trash in the ocean.  
  4. Apart from securing your fishing gear and equipment, don’t forget to take your safety gear such as sunscreen, first aid kit, rain gear, and others.  You also need to always wear your personal flotation device properly.
  5. Bring along a bottle of drinking water to keep you hydrated.
  6. Be informed of weather forecasts and be conscious of tides and currents.
  7. The best time of the day to go fishing is early in the morning and at dusk.
  8. Pick the right fishing gear and equipment.

READ MORE: Activities & Adventure in the Philippines

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About the Author


Patrick is an entrepreneur, digital nomad, explorer, and photographer. Patrick is always in search of fun and adventure. He is well travelled throughout the world, and although location independent, his home base is Phoenix, Arizona in the USA. Patrick loves island lifestyle which is no wonder why he is so interested in spending time in the Philippines with it’s over 7,000 islands. Patrick created this site to share his knowledge of and experiences in the Philippines with Filipinos as well as other foreigners.

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  • Hello Patrick!

    Thank you for your very informative write-up about Fishing in the Philippines. I am into cultural research and I find your information worth citing for my research. I hope to know your complete name (without intrusion into your privacy) so that I could cite you more professionally and in a more ethical way. I hope to learn more from you in the future. Thank you and Best regards to all your adventures.


    • Hi Oliver,

      Thank you for your comment. I will appreciate if you could credit Discover the Philippines website. I hope that works for you.