Davao Gulf closed fishing season ends

Subscribe Now September 01, 2015 at 08:34am

The Davao Gulf will again be open for commercial fishing for nine months starting Sept. 1 with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) expecting an improved catch after implementing a three-month closed season.

“Fisherfolk in the Davao Gulf can now take advantage of the many blessings of the sea that comes as a result of the three-month sacrifice during the closed season,” BFAR Region 11 Director Fatma M. Idris said.

BFAR reported only one commercial vessel caught and charged during the three-month closed season, which was implemented this year for the second time from June to August.

“It takes a lot of discipline on the part of the fisherfolk to adhere (to the closed season),” said Ms. Idris, “But this sacrifice is well worth it considering that we have given the pelagic fishes a chance to spawn and grow bigger to give us better fish catch during the open fishing season.”

The closed season is based on Joint Administrative Order No. 02 of the Department of Agriculture and Department of Interior and Local Government.

“The fish catch increased by 26% from September to December in 2014 compared to the same period the previous year,” said Jose A. Villanueva, officer-in-charge of BFAR Davao Region’s Fisheries Regulatory and Law Enforcement Division.

The closed season has benefitted municipal fisherfolk who use smaller boats and work grounds closer onshore compared with the big commercial fishers, according to BFAR data, with their share in total fish catch improving to 34% after the closed season last year from 25% previously.

Under the terms of the closed season, small- to large-scale commercial fishing vessels displacing 3.1 gross tons (GT) to more than 150 GT are prohibited from catching pelagic fishes in the Davao Gulf. The use of ring nets and bag nets are also banned.

The 338,000-hectare Davao Gulf is a major fishing ground and critical source of livelihood for five coastal cities and 18 coastal municipalities of the region. It also has a diverse marine ecosystems with a variety of reef and mangrove species as well as endangered species such as sea cows or dugongs and leatherback turtles, which are listed in the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), according to the World Wildlife Foundation.

Ms. Idris explained that the closed season was implemented because the Davao Gulf has reached and exceeded the maximum sustainable yield.

Department of Science and Technology Region 11 Director Anthony C. Sales earlier confirmed the depletion of fishery resources in 10 locations along the Davao Gulf based on a 10-year study conducted from 2000 to 2010.

The closed season is also being implemented to strengthen the country’s campaign against illegal, unreported and uncontrolled fishing.

Source: bworldonline.com

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