DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/11 August) — A city councilor on Tuesday filed a resolution supporting the implementation of a three-month closed season policy for the Davao Gulf.
In her privilege speech, Councilor Rachel P. Zozobrado said the three-month closed season will protect pelagic fish from illegal and overfishing, which resulted in the reduction of fish supply.
She blamed the influx of businesses and economic activities along the gulf for making its condition worse.
“The increase in the number of businesses and economic activities has affected the condition of the gulf, and overfishing has caused a deficiency in the region’s fish supply,” the proposed resolution said.
The Department of Agriculture and the Department of Interior and Local Government last year issued joint Administrative Circular No. 2 that prohibits fishing in the gulf from June 1 to August 31 of each year.
The order also banned the use of bag nets and ring nets in the gulf.
The order was based on the finding of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources that the gulf is a spawning ground for tuna and other species of fish.
Among the protected species are big-eyed scad, mackerel, and moonfish.
The gulf, considered the 10th major fishing ground in the Philippines, provides livelihood for five coastal cities and 18 coastal municipalities, Zozobrado said.
“Davao Gulf is a rich fishing ground and has one of the most diverse marine ecosystems not only in the country but in the whole world,” she said.
Citing the World Wildlife Fund, Zozobrado added Davao Gulf is known as home to “a variety of reef and mangrove species as well as endangered species such as sea cows or dugongs and leatherback turtle which are listed in the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species.”
She called on the stakeholders to support BFAR’s campaign of BFAR to protect the gulf and sustain its natural resources.
“If we want to take part in the national government’s call for inclusive growth, then we can contribute by helping in the campaign for the implementation of the closed season in our region,” she said.
Commercial fishing vessels from 3.1 to 150 gross tons are also banned from fishing in the gulf.
The Department of Science and Technology reported in 2012 the decline of fish catch in the region from 2000 to 2010. This was attributed to water pollution, destroyed fishing habitat, diminishing sea grass, conversion of mangrove planting areas to recreational resorts and poor fishing practices. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)