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BFAR-7 to impose 3-month fishing ban in Visayan Sea

BFAR-7 Regional Director Allan L. Poquita of delivers his opening remarks during the CLEAR-7 meeting on September 19, 2023 in Cebu. (PIA-7)

CEBU CITY (PIA) – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Region 7 is set to impose a fishing ban in the Visayan Sea from November 15, 2023 to February 15, 2024. 

This after the bureau noted the decreasing supply of fish in the region. 

“There has been a depleting supply of fish in the region,” BFAR-7 Director Allan L. Poquita disclosed during the September 19 meeting of the Coastal Law Enforcement and Alliance of Region 7 (CLEAR-7) in Cebu City. 

The closed fishing season, which is implemented under the Fisheries Administrative Order (FAO) 167-3, will allow fish propagation and ensure the protection and conservation of the sardines, herrings, and mackerel in the Visayan sea fishing ground. 

Ato ning gibuhat para modaghan balik ang mga isda kay in the end kita gihapon ang makabenepisyo ani (We are doing this so the fish can spawn and grow because in the end, we are the ones who will benefit from this),” Poquita added.

FAO 167-3 prohibits the catching, killing, selling or possessing the sexually mature sardines, herrings and mackerels or their larvae, fry or young known locally as “lupoy,” “silinyasi,” linatsay” or “manansi” in the portion of the Visayan Sea and adjoining waters enclosed by line drawn through following points and coastlines: from the mouth of Danao River on the northeastern tip of the Bantayan Island to Madridejos, thru the lighthouse on Gigantes Island, to Clutaya Island, to Culasi Point in Capiz province, eastward along the northern coast of Capiz to Bulacaue Point in Carles, Iloilo, southward along the eastern coast of Iloilo to the mouth of Talisay River, westward across the Guimaras Strait to Tomonton Point in Occidental Negros, eastward along the northern Coast of the Island of Negros and back to the mouth of Danao River in Escalante, Negros Occidental.

Declining fishery production

A report from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA-7) noted that the annual fishery production in the region has been decreasing for two straight years. 

In 2022, the total fish production in Central Visayas was estimated at 79,280 metric tons, a 46% drop from the 2021 production of 146,710 metric tons, which was already a 7% decrease from the fish production of 157,410 metric tons in 2020.

In 2022, seaweed was the top fishery product in Central Visayas at 13,221.98 metric tons (MT), followed by fimbriated sardines (7,970.88 MT), big-eyed scad (4,087.60 MT), roundscad (3,376.97 MT), anchovies (3,363.95 MT), siganid or rabbitfish (3,196.38 MT), milkfish or bangus (2,894.51 MT), squid (1,877.34 MT), flying fish (1,794.40 MT), and Bali sardinella (1,720.11 MT).

Representatives from BFAR-7, Tañon Strait Protected Seascape (TSPS), DENR-7 , Cebu Province, Cebu City Bantay Dagat Commission, PNP Maritime, Police Regional Office 7, Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard 7, Philippine Information Agency 7, Oceana, Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation (CCEF), and Lapu-lapu City convene during the CLEAR-7 meeting held in Cebu City on Sept. 19, 2023. (PIA-7)
Coastal challenges

BFAR-7 reported that the region continues to face challenges such as the illegal use of commercial fishers, continued use of dynamite, cyanide and fine mesh nets, pollution and unregulated coastal development.

The bureau has continued their confiscation of illegal fish even during the pandemic with the assistance of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group 7 (CIDG-7). 

Currently, there are 235 deputized Bantay Dagat personnel in Region 7 who are tasked to enforce all fishery laws, rules, and regulations.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources 7 (DENR-7) also urged members of CLEAR-7 to double their efforts on coastal law enforcement.

“Let’s activate CLEAR 7 and put our acts together and be effective in enforcement,” Melicor said.

The DENR regional director also urged the member-agencies to promote ecotourism sustainability and strengthen inter-agency coordination towards environmental protection.

Established in 2000 through a Memorandum of Agreement, CLEAR-7 has been active in implementing measures to minimize and eventually eradicate illegal fishing activities in the region.

CLEAR-7 members support the government’s efforts to protect the Visayan fishing ground through continued seaborne patrol operations, fishing vessels inspection, port, landing, and fisheries inspection, and market inspection. (MYP/PIA-7 Cebu)

A member of the Cebu City Bantay Dagat patroling the Cebu City Municipal Waters for illegal activities. (File photo from Cebu City Bantay Dagat FB Page)

About the Author

Myrtle Pasigan

Information Officer

Region 7

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