Why there’s ‘closed season’ for fishing certain fishes in specific waters

Published November 19, 2022, 10:44 AM

by Alexa Basa

• It’s now officially the “closed season” for fishing in the Visayan Sea, a practice that aims to allow sardines, herrings, and mackerels within the area to reproduce. The closed season started Nov. 15 and will end on Feb. 15, 2023.
• That follows the closed season to conserve Ludong in the Cagayan River and Abra River system of Northern Luzon, which started Oct. 1 and ended Nov. 15.
• Closed fishing season helps important fish species to reproduce or spawn, fry and juvenile fishes to mature, and fish stocks to recover, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said in its Fish Files magazines.
• The practice of a “closed season” for fishing is defined by the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998, as amended in 2015, as “the period during which the taking of specified fishery species by a specified fishing gear is prohibited in a specified area or areas in Philippine waters.”

It’s now officially the “closed season” for fishing in the Visayan Sea, a practice that aims to allow sardines, herrings, and mackerels within the area to reproduce. The closed season started Nov. 15 and will end on Feb. 15, 2023, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources announced in its Facebook page.

That follows the closed season to conserve Ludong in the Cagayan River and Abra River system of Northern Luzon, which started Oct. 1 and ended Nov. 15.

Ludong or Lobed River Mullet is the most expensive fish in the Philippines, which can be found in those areas.

The practice of a “closed season” for fishing is defined by the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998, as amended in 2015, as “the period during which the taking of specified fishery species by a specified fishing gear is prohibited in a specified area or areas in Philippine waters.”

Closed fishing season helps important fish species to reproduce or spawn, fry and juvenile fishes to mature, and fish stocks to recover, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said in its Fish Files magazine in 2021.

The closed season could also be declared, if needed, by the secretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in a part of, or even the entire, Philippine waters, outside municipal waters and in bays. It could also cover municipal waters and bays, areas within the jurisdiction of special agencies, and other areas reserved for municipal fisherfolk only if the special agency, as well as the local government unit (LGU) and the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Councils (FARMC), approve of the policy.

In addition, the LGU, in consultation with FARMC, may create a closed season in municipal waters, fisheries management areas, and other places reserved for municipal fisherfolk. The FARMC may also suggest a closed season in those areas.

This policy allows “sustainable use and exploitation of important fisheries resources,” Princess Alma Ani said in her study in 2016. Ani pointed out that overfishing and overexploitation, with the natural calamities and negative impacts of climate change, may result in the extinction of significant fish species and economic losses. She said implementing a closed fishing season policy is perceived as a “significant mechanism” to address these impacts.

The fisheries administrative order no. 167-3 of 2013 forbids anyone to “kill or catch, or cause to be killed or caught or taken from those waters, purchase, sell, offer or expose for sale, or have in his possession or under his control any sexually mature sardines, herrings or mackerels or their larvae, fry or young known locally as ‘lupoy,’ ‘silinyasi,’ ‘linatsay’ or ‘manansi’ during the closed season.”

A closed season occurs from June 1 to Aug. 31 along the Davao Gulf to allow small pelagic fishes to replenish to meet the demands of fish in the region.

The DA-Department of Interior and Local Government joint administrative order No. 2 of 2014 prohibits catching small pelagic fishes like galunggong, matang baka, and karabalyas using ringnets, bagnets, and fine mesh nets.

Under BFAR administrative circular no. 247 of 2013, Ludong should not be caught by any fishing gear or method, purchased, sold, transported, exported, or held in possession during the closed season. However, the agriculture secretary could give a special permit to anyone who would catch Ludong for “scientific, educational, or propagation” reasons.

 
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