DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/30 May) — The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR)-11 said Friday fishing will be banned in the Davao Gulf between June and August this year to rehabilitate its declining fishery resources.
Studies by the BFAR-11 National Stock Assessment Program have shown small pelagic species in the gulf could not sufficiently meet the demand for fish in the region.
Small pelagic fishes are those that “live near the surface or in the water column of coastal, ocean, usually caught by both commercial and municipal fishing gears like bagnet, ringnet, and other modified fishing gears of similar fishing operations.”
Some small pelagic fishes include the variety of mackerel locally known as karabalyas, kabalyas, hasa-hasa, buraw, anduhaw, kapisnon, lumahan and anduhan; variety of roundscad species also known as galonggong”, moro-moro, borot, alumahan, budburon, burot-burot; and the variety of big eye scad species locally known as matang baka, atulay, matambaka, tamrong and budlatan.
The closed season is a joint order of the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Interior and Local Government.
Fatima M. Idris, BFAR-11 regional director, said in a press conference that based on biological studies conducted by their Regional Stock Assessment Program, most pelagic species spawn during the period from June to August.
Idris said the order will be implemented upon its publication in newspapers with general circulation. She added they have been conducting information and education campaign about the closed season in the Davao Gulf.
The order also aims to reduce, if not eliminate, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing within the gulf for conservation.
Any person, association or corporation, is prohibited to catch any small pelagic fishes in the conservation area “using ringnet and bagnet, regardless of tonnage and/or modified fishing gears with similar fishing operations during the closed season”.
The order also prohibits the use of fine mesh net for ring nets and bag nets and similar fishing gears or operation throughout the years.
A peer review will follow the implementation of the closed season. Scientists, technical staff from BFAR, the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute, Davao Gulf Management Council, BAROG Katawhan Multi-Purpose Cooperative, academe and industry experts will determine whether to continue or amend the closed season.
Idris said they will continue monitoring the gulf before and after succeeding closed season. She noted that at least 30 commercial mother vessels are registered to fish in the gulf.
Punishments for violators of the order, particularly the operator, boat captain/master fisherman or three highest officers of the boat are a fine equivalent to the value of the catch or P100,000, whichever is higher, and imprisonment of six months, forfeiture of the catch and cancellation of fishing boat and gear licenses and/or other fishing permits. (Lorie Ann Cascaro/MindaNews)