Look east to Benham Rise for food, BFAR tells gov’t
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) asked government to support the development of Benham Rise, a 13-million hectare fishing ground east of Aurora which is home to tuna, marlin and other high-value fish.
The Philippine Star, citing BFAR director Asis Perez, said government presence would encourage small and medium-scale fisherfolk to explore the area.
Many see Benham Rise as a “replacement” or “alternative” to the fishing ground that fishermen lost when China started pushing more aggressively towards the Philippine side of the South China Sea.
Perez said a three-year fishing survey by BFAR showed that the area is rich with albacore and big eye tuna.
Blue-fin tuna and black and white marlin also reportedly abound in Benham Rise.
However, Perez said development and conservation of Benham Rise, which is larger than Luzon, should be balanced.
Benham Rise was confirmed as solely belonging to the Philippines on April 12, 2012.