Cebu City – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Central Visayas (BFAR Region 7) enjoins concerned stakeholders to push for management and conservation measures that would reinforce the lifting of the closed season policy in portion of the Visayan Sea.
BFAR 7 Regional Director Dr. Allan Poquita urges local officials and the City or Municipal Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Councils (FARMC) in the involved areas to initiate or revive legislations that would ensure that fish stocks in the Visayan Sea are managed properly.
This move is also aimed at sustaining the livelihood of the small-scale or municipal fisherfolk.
“The closed season in portion of the Visayan Sea has ended officially on the 15th of February. We have guarded our waters to make sure that the protected species could spawn and grow in number and we do not want to waste our efforts,” said Poquita.
“We call on our partner LGU’s and other stakeholders to also do their share in conserving our marine resources to avoid overfishing,” he added.
Fishers are now allowed to catch certain pelagic species, namely sardines, herrings and mackerels, which typically experience their annual spawning period in the Visayan Sea from November 15 to February 15 the following year.
Poquita, however, said that for a span of three months, the young species would not yet fully mature. Also, the fisherfolk tends to increase effort in catching these species after restricted for three months.
He said local officials may set an extension of the closed season just so to give more time for the young fish to grow into “marketable” size, which could be of higher value and of an advantage to the fishermen’s income.
If not, Poquita said officials could impose stringent measures on banning the catching of juvenile fish, which may still turn into adult species that could lay eggs, sustaining further the fish population in the Visayan Sea, which is one of the country’s largest fishing grounds.
In the absence of a national legislation, he said local officials and FARMC officers may come up with or enact an ordinance or local orders that would establish these policies, provide prohibitions, and stipulate sanctions for violators.
Moreover, Poquita said people should also learn and support the bureau’s advocacy on “sustainable” fishing since there is a high chance that marine resources may deplete if exploited indiscriminately.
Proper management of fish stocks, he said, comes timely as more people may rely on fish meat with the emergence of African swine flu and other animal diseases.
Poquita asks for the cooperation of and support from all concerned stakeholders especially at this time of crisis to maximize the available resources that have been the source of food and income to the marginalized fishing communities./BFAR 7