BFAR lifts annual sardine fishing ban in Zamboanga
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has now lifted the annual three-month ban on sardine fishing in the waters off Zamboanga Peninsula, allowing fishermen and companies to resume their activities in the area.
In a ceremony held yesterday, Agriculture Undersecretary for Fisheries and concurrent BFAR National Director Eduardo B. Gongona joined BFAR Regional Office IX, the Zamboanga local government unit, fisherfolk, and fishing companies, in lifting the 8th Zamboanga closed season for sardines.
Gongona said the annual moratorium targets to allow sardines to freely spawn on optimum conditions.
“In the recent years, we have started reaping the benefits of the sardine closed season as demonstrated by the consistently positive growth in sardine production. From 2015, sardine catch increased from around 140,000 metric tons to 147,000 metric tons in 2016, and in 2017, it reached 160,000 metric tons,” Gongona said.
“Catch of other fish species aside from sardines also increased by 73 percent from 2015 to 2016 based on the monitored landed catch of the National Stocks Assessment Program of BFAR Region 9,” he added.
This year, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported that in 2018, the fisheries sector obtained a 0.92 percent increase in the country’s total volume of fisheries production from 2017.
The sardine closed fishing season was initiated in 2011 and was implemented until 2014 for the conduct of scientific research to determine the spawning months of sardines.
Immediately after, a closed season for sardines in portions of East Sulu Sea, Basilan Strait and Sibuguey Bay was officially established by virtue of the BFAR Administrative Circular (BAC) 255 series of 2014.
Closed fishing seasons for other fish species are also observed in other fishing grounds like the Visayan Sea, Northeastern Palawan, Davao Gulf, and Cagayan.