The Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has urged fisherfolk to take advantage of the open fishing season in most parts of the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Open fishing season is currently observed in Northern Palawan, the Visayan Sea, and Zamboanga Peninsula.
The Davao Gulf is closed for fishing starting June 1 until August 31.
In a recent statement released by DA-BFAR, it said: “fishing activities may continue despite the community quarantine enforced in different areas in the Philippines.”
DA Memorandum Circular No. 9 states that “fishing activities shall continue to ensure food supply across the country”.
This is complementary with the DA Memorandum Circular No. 7 which sought to ensure that every Filipino household in Luzon and high-dense metropolitan areas have access to safe and affordable food.
The country is in its peak fishing season, and the weather is conducive for fishing as the seas are generally calm.
“We encourage our fisherfolk to take advantage of the present weather and sea conditions and continue with their fishing activities taking into consideration existing laws and regulations against illegal and unsustainable fishing,” the DA-BFAR said.
Sea safety, health, and quarantine protocols set by the authorities should also be observed by everyone engaged in fishing activities.
Meanwhile, the DA reminded fisherfolk that fishing of certain fish species is prohibited in specific areas in the country during the closed season.
This is to allow fish species to reproduce and for the fry and juveniles to mature and restore valuable fish stocks.
BFAR’s National Stock Assessment Program in Region 9 said during the closed season consistent positive growth in sardine production was achieved and may be attributed to the department’s conservation measure.
Sardine catch increased from 141, 658.79 metric tons (MT) in 2015 to 148,718.22 MT in 2016, and reaching 165, 293.32 MT in 2017.
Open fishing season is now being observed in the fishing grounds of Northeast Palawan in Northen Sulu Sea that were closed from November to January; the Visayan Sea is closed from November 15 to February 15; and the Zamboanga Peninsula closes from December 1 until March 1 of every year.
Meanwhile, the Davao Gulf is currently on its closed season that started in June and will last until August 31.
Filipino fishers with vessels capable of venturing to fishing in areas within the country’s maritime domains including the West Philippine Sea, which are open for fishing all throughout the year, are likewise urged to take advantage of the peak season for fishing. (Marita Moaje/PNA)