By Tara Yap
Iloilo City — The management framework for the protection of the once rich fishing ground of the Visayan Sea has been formalized.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the provincial governments of Capiz, Cebu, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, and Masbate signed a covenant to adopt the framework that will continue to revitalize the Visayan Sea.
The covenant was signed Friday by BFAR Assistant Director Drusila Esther E. Bayate, Governors Arthur Defensor Sr. of Iloilo, Alfredo Marañon Jr. of Negros Occidental, Antonio del Rosario of Capiz and representatives of Governors Hilario Davide III of Cebu and Antonio Kho of Masbate during the 10th Governors’ Summit for the Visayan Sea in Iloilo.
The covenant also signals the establishment of a fishery management area.
The Visayan Sea is a major source of herrings, mackerels and sardines. But illegal fishing and overfishing has damaged the coral and marine life and led to depletion of fish resources.
Environmental lawyer Antoino Oposa Jr. envisioned the annual Visayan Sea summit to bring together government agencies, local governments and private groups to work within their areas to eliminate illegal fishing.
BFAR-6 Regional Director Remia Aparri said Oposa’s initiatives are gradually improving the Visayan Sea.