Fisheries bureau sets closed season for fishing-A A +A
By Bong Garcia
Sunday, October 28, 2012
THE implementation of the closed season for sardine fishing in the east Sulu Sea, Basilan Strait, and Sibugay Bay will start December 1, 2012 to March 1, 2013.
This is based on a resolution approved by the Technical Working Group (TWG) commissioned by the Department of Agriculture (DA) through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).
BFAR Regional Director Ahadulla Sajili has informed Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat through a letter that members of the TWG, during a meeting last September 14, have agreed to set the closed fishing season from December 1-March 1 pursuant to provisions of the Joint Administrative Order 1, series of 2011 of the DA and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Nevertheless, Sajili said the time set is still subject to the continuous conduct of peer review before and after the period.
The members of the TWG represent the key agencies, organizations, and stakeholders in the fishing industry. Members include Edgar Lim, Roberto Baylosis, Jose Suan, George Ledesma, Dr. Rosalio Tenorio, Dr. Arthur Panganiban, Muhaimin Albani, Dr. Eduardo Bisquera Jr., Eugene Yap, and Dr. Asuncion de Guzman.
In August last year, the DA and the DILG issued a joint administrative order (AO) establishing a closed season for the conservation of sardines with a transitory provision setting the period from December 1, 2011 to March 1, 2012.
In setting the period for the closed fishing season last year, the joint AO stressed that the period was "subject to the conduct of peer review before and after this period, by scientists from the BFAR and the academe and industry experts, to determine which between the months of November and December, both peak spawning months of sardines in the conservation area based on available scientific studies, should the closed season commence that would best ensure the non-extinction and conservation of the species."
The setting of the date for last year’s closed fishing season initially resulted in a dispute between the BFAR and the canning and fishing sectors in the city until Lobregat intervened.
The BFAR then wanted to impose the fishing ban effective November 1 but the fishing sector opted to start December 1, the period that the group has adopted ever since.
To diffuse the tension, Lobregat recommended a transition period in the imposition of the fishing ban pending validation of data through joint studies -- a recommendation approved by the National Government and incorporated in the joint administrative order.