PH gov’t bans commercial fishing in Zamboanga

Published December 3, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Madelaine B. Miraflor

The Philippine government will temporarily ban fishing in Zamboanga peninsula as part of the conservation efforts in the region.

For the ninth time since 2011, the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) announced the start of the sardine closed season in the Zamboanga peninsula.

Starting last December 1 until March 1 next year, under BFAR Administrative Circular (BAC) 255, commercial fishing vessels are banned from fishing within the waters of East Sulu Sea, Basilan Strait and Sibuguey Bay to give way to the three-month spawning period of the sardines.

BFAR National Director Eduardo Gongona said the move will allow for the country’s sardines fish stocks to replenish, ensuring the “abundance and productivity of our marine resources for years to come.”

Data from the National Stock Assessment Program of BFAR Region IX showed that there has been a continuous increase in sardines production over the last four years.

Based on their monitored landed catch, 141,658 metric tons (MT) of sardines were caught in 2015; 148,718 MT in 2016; 165,295 MT in 2017; and 188,839 MT in 2018.

Sardinella lemuru (tamban-tuloy) tops among other sardine species with 183,884 MT in 2018.

Data from BFAR IX’s Fisheries Management Regulatory and Enforcement Division (FMRED) also recorded 100 percent compliance during the closed fishing period for two consecutive years of 2016 and 2017.

Last year, fisheries law enforcers apprehended only two commercial fishing vessels in the areas covered by the closed season.

The violators were charged under Sec. 100 of the Republic Act 10654, otherwise known as the amended Philippine Fisheries Code, for fishing during the closed fishing period.