Closed fishing season to start in November

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The Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) assured of stable supply of fisheries as the three months closed fishing season will start in November.

“Fishing in the Northeast Palawan shall be closed from November to January, the Visayan Sea will be closed from November 15 to February 15, and the Zamboanga Peninsula closes from December 1 until March 1 of every year,” DA-BFAR said in a statement.

The move shall allow fish species to reproduce and for the fry and juveniles to mature and restore valuable fish stocks, and for the conservation and management of round scad (galunggong) in Northern Palawan, the agency added.

The BFAR’s National Stock Assessment Program in Region 9 or the Zamboanga Peninsula said that during the closed season, consistent positive growth in sardine production was achieved and may be attributed to the department’s conservation measure.

Sardine catch increased from 141, 658.79 metric tons (MT) in 2015 to 148,718.22 MT in 2016, and reached 165, 293.32 MT in 2017.

Asis Perez, former DA official, said the aquaculture industry is supporting the move saying the three months closed fishing season “will help revitalize galunggong supply in the country as it is the peak spawning season from November until end-January.”

The industry will help “fill the anticipated supply gap once the government implements the three-month closed fishing season,” Perez said in a virtual forum on Monday.

Based on the 2018 Fisheries Profile, Perez said the aquaculture subsector produced 2.3 million MT, which is 53 percent of the Philippines’ total fish production of 4.36 million MT.

The DA is eyeing to import fisheries products, such as galunggong and mackerel, to fill in the anticipated shortage of the commodities.
For round scads, the country’s supply is estimated to be at 53,925 MT by the end of the year, which is lower than the demand of 105,690 MT, or a deficit of 51,765 MT.

For tilapia, the supply stood only at 102,624 MT as against the demand of 114,660 MT, showing a deficit of 12,036 MT.

Perez said the closed fishing season “might be an opportunity for our local producers to fill in the gap in the local market demand, particularly the aquaculture products that we are producing.”

With regard to the plan to import round scad and mackerel, Perez said importation should be calculated to the level that would not affect the local producers.

“Our fishermen are willing to fill in the gap in the local market demand. They just need support in improving the supply chain,” he said.*PNA

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