LIKE a Facebook relationship status, overfishing in the Visayan Sea is a complicated issue that cannot be addressed by a single solution.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (Bfar) has implemented programs to manage commercial fishing efforts, enforce prohibitions on destructive fishing practices and provide alternative livelihood opportunities to fisherfolk in the Visayan Sea.
The Visayan Sea is one of the country’s major fishing grounds. It falls under the jurisdiction of the Bicol Region, and Western and Central Visayas.
Among the methods to manage fishing efforts is imposing closed seasons. To allow sardines and mackerel to replenish their stocks, the Bfar implemented a four-month closed season starting Nov. 15, 2012 to March 15, 2013 in the Visayan Sea.
Prudencio Belga Jr., project leader of Bfar’s National Stock Assessment Program (NSAP) for the Visayan Sea, said the closed season may have helped bring down the exploitation ratio of commercial fish stocks in the Visayan Sea to 70 percent from 80 percent.
The closed season coincides with the spawning period of sardines and mackerel.
Nygiel Armada, deputy chief of party of the Ecosystems Improved for Sustainable Fisheries (Ecofish) Project, agreed with Belga but pointed out that the closed season is a “remedial solution.”
“It will make a dent, but it will not solve the problem,” he said. “The ultimate solution is to bring down fishing efforts to sustainable levels.”