DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 16 July) – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is gearing up for a season of low catch of small pelagic fishes as the agency formally began the ban on the fishing practice of using bag nets and ring nets Tuesday.
BFAR regional director Fatma Idris told reporters the bureau was ready to give livelihood assistance to small scale fisherfolk who would be affected by the fishing ban during the spawning season.
“We are giving assistance in the form of fishing gear and boats,” Idris said.
She added that the agency was also ready to give boat engines, with a counterpart boat from the fisherfolk.
Idris was speaking at the send-off ceremony for three patrol boats acquired by the agency at the Davao City Fish Port Complex in Toril.
The BFAR, along with representatives of the Philippine Navy, Coast Guard, PNP Maritime Group, and other agencies, swore in members of the BFAR who would be manning PB 2840-11, PB 2844-11, and PB 2825-10.
The patrol boats run on 250 horsepower, with a top speed of 20 knots, according to one of the patrol boat crewmen from the BFAR during a boat ride around the Davao gulf Tuesday noon.
Idris said there was a need to balance conservation and production, which led to the creation of Joint Administrative Order 2, which banned the practice.
Meanwhile, Councilor Leo Avila, who represented Mayor Rodrigo Duterte at the event, said that the revival of the Environmental Management Alliance, along with the enforcement of JAO2, gave the law more teeth in preventing the decline of the fish caught by ring nets and bag nets.
He said the alliance involves eight municipalities as well as local government units of coastal areas in Davao City and Davao del Sur not only in the implementation of the law but also in the prosecution of violators in partnership with the City Prosecution Office.
Idris said this improved the chances of stopping fishing vessels from overfishing in the gulf.
Davao City Fish Port Complex manager Mario Malinao said that the ban will definitely result to low catch and landings at the port but called the ban “common sense.”
“In the long run, the fisherfolk will realize that the catch will increase when the closure order is lifted eventually,” Malinao said.
PCG, PNP Maritime, and Philippine Navy representatives likewise committed to implement the JAO during the ceremony held Tuesday morning.