‘Liba-liba’ fishing ban starts Tuesday–BFAR exec

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/12 October)—The ban on Danish seine fishing, locally known as “liba-liba,” will start on Tuesday, October 15, Nerio Casil, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) director in Region 13 or the Caraga region, said.

“Our head office issued the order to stop the continuing destruction of coral reefs, seagrass beds and other marine habitat due to liba-liba fishing,” he said.

Casil said that Danish seine operators are given six months to change their gears to safe and sustainable fishing methods, within which “the government will lend them a helping hand.”

Liba-liba fishing uses cone-shaped nets with heavy fish herding device attached to a tom weight for hauling to the boat.

The ban is enforced through Fisheries Administrative Order 246, titled “Banning the Operation of Danish Seine and Modified Danish Seine in the Philippines,” issued last September 12, Casil said.

A meeting with the affected fishermen will be held on October 16 to determine the forms of assistance, including a possible loan package, that will be extended to them, he said.

Casil said the BFAR has a “guarantee fund” with the Land Bank of the Philippines that “can be converted into a guarantee fund for their change of gears.”

BFAR-13 has no figure for the liba-liba fishermen operating in the Caraga region. But he urged them to visit the BFAR office so they can be assisted by the government.

Casil said that there are plenty of small liba-liba or hulbot-hulbot operators in Surigao del Norte, particularly in Placer, Gigaquit, Claver and Bacuag, including Siargao towns and Bucas Grande in Socorro.

Liba-liba fishing also exists in Dinagat town in Dinagat province and Cantilan in Surigao del Sur, he said.

Based on the order, violators face imprisonment of two to 10 years and a fine of P100,000 to P500,000. (Roel Catoto/MindaNews)