Open fishing season for sardines starts in Zamboanga Peninsula

Open fishing season starts with a bang on the gong during a ceremony at the Sangali Fishing Port, Zamboanga City on Tuesday, March 1. (Photo by Ely Dumaboc)

Some 34,000 sardine factory workers are expected to return to work during the start of the Open Season for Sardine Fishing in Zamboanga Peninsula on Tuesday, March 1.

Officials of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) held a ceremony at the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority Fish Landing Center in Barangay Sangali that ended the 90-day ban on sardine fishing which started on December 1 of last year.

SoPhil President Engineer Jaydrick Yap

Engineer Jaydrick Yap, president of Southern Philippines Deep Sea Fishing Association, Inc. (SoPhil), said 21 commercial fishing boat members and 11 sardine factories in Zamboanga City are ready to resume work.

Yap foresees an abundant supply of the Bali and Gold stripe varieties of fish which are used for canned sardine production in Zamboanga City.

“This was one of the reasons why SoPhil and IGZI (Industrial Group of Zamboanga, Inc) have strongly opposed the importation of 60,000 metric tons of small pelagic fish for the first quarter of this year by the Department of Agriculture,” he added.

The three-month ban on sardine fishing is pursuant to BFAR Administrative Circular No. 255, establishing a closed season for the conservation of sardines in East Sulu Sea, Sibuguey Bay, and Basilan Strait.

Zamboanga City is known as the Sardine Capital of the Philippines due to the operation of 11 sardine canning factories.

Sardine fishing accounts for about 70 percent of the city’s economy.