GOVERNMENT authorities are watching tightly Davao's fish resources, as the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) started the second year implementation of the closed season policy of the Davao Gulf in Davao City.

The Davao Gulf will be closed for fishing operations that use ring-net and bagnet fishing gears regardless of tonnage, starting from June 1 to August 31 this year to protect and allow the small pelagic fishes more time to grow during the spawning season.

Fatma Idris, director of the BFAR-Davao, said the bureau, in coordination with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) for Southern Mindanao, Maritime Unit of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Philippine Navy, is now closely monitoring those fishermen who are using ring-net and bagnet in fishing.

"Matitigas kasi ang ulo kaya mainit na rin ang aming pagpursue dun sa mga mangingisda na gumagamit ng ring-net at bagnet. We are asking support from the executives, kailangan may power naman sila or political will na alagaan itong kanilang karagatan, kasi this is not only the job of the BFAR," Idris said.

Idris said anyone who will be caught fishing in Davao Gulf area using ring-net and bagnet regardless of tonnage or modified fishing gears with similar fishing operations would be punished with an imprisonment of six months and one day to a maximum of six years.

"The violators will also be fined an amount of P6,000, forfeiture of catch, and cancellation of their fishing license. Kaya I encourage the fishermen not to use ring-net and bagnet na nakakahuli ng mga juvenile fish. What will happen to our next generation kung pati maliliit na mga isda nahuhuli na," Idris said.

Commodore Joselito dela Cruz, Coast Guard commander for Southern Mindanao, said he directed all the PCG sub-stations to strengthen its security measures on the coastal areas and look after the anti-illegal fishing campaign of the local government units (LGUs).

"In fact, I was recommending to director Idris to request the bigger vessel about 30-footer patrol vessel, which is now at General Santos City. For the coast guards, we have our sub-stations, equipped na ito ng aluminum boats in tandem with the LGUs," dela Cruz said.

Dela Cruz said two 28-footer patrols vessels were already deployed to Davao Gulf last June 18. The remaining four 30-footers, which are faster, are set to be sent off next week, he added.

The BFAR allocated P6 million for implementation of all the programs and projects against the Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing.