The three main species of sardines in the waters off Zamboanga and the Visayan Seas belong to one single stock. (Photo: Stock File)
Sardine ban extended to Visayan Sea
Friday, October 19, 2012, 15:20 (GMT + 9)
The Philippines’ Government is expanding its three-month sardine fishing ban to include the Visayan Sea as well as the Zamboanga waters, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala has announced.
The closure of Zamboanga and the Visayan seas is a must to ensure a more wide-ranging management approach in sardine fisheries, he argued during the launching of the five-year Ecofish project of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Quezon City.
Studies completed by the Fisheries Agency and other research institutions have indeed indicated that the three major species of sardines, such as fimbriated sardines (tunsoy), Indian sardines (tamban) and round herring (tulis), in the waters off Zamboanga and the Visayan Seas belong to one single stock. In other words, the fish breed and spawn at the same time, he continued.
The Visayan Seas and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) contribute some 30-35 per cent of the country’s total sardine production, while the Zamboanga Peninsula provides 40-45 per cent, GMA News reports.
The Fisheries Bureau first implemented the fishing ban in the East Sulu Sea, Basilan Strait and Sibuguey Bay from December 2011 to February 2012. A second ban will be implemented within the immediate three months with the same timeframe as the first ban.
“The collaboration between the local government units, private fishing companies, law enforcers and all other stakeholders was very impressive. Compliance was close to 100 per cent,” Alcala celebrated, Manila Standard Today reports.
“It is worth noting that because of this compliance, the increase in sardine production is very impressive even within a short period following the lifting of the ban,” he added.
According to the latest data on sardine production in the Zamboanga Peninsula, there has been a rise of 13 per cent from 63,351 tonnes in the second quarter of 2011 to 72,446 tonnes in Q2 2012, the Bureau of Agriculture Statistics informed.
In Zamboanga peninsula, close to 30,000 people work directly or indirectly in the sardine industry.
“The management of our fisheries stocks has to be made more comprehensive to ensure sustainability. In the case of sardine stocks, improving its yield is also expected to bring about a significant increase in tuna production because tunas feed primarily on sardines,” Fisheries Bureau Director Asis Perez said.
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