‘CLOSED SEASON’ Visayan Sea fishing ban starts

ILOILO – Catching, trading, selling, and marketing of sardines, herring and mackerel in the Visayan Sea are prohibited for three months.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Western Visayas has enforced the “closed season” on Friday. The ban will end on Feb. 15 next year.

BFAR-6 director Remia Aparri said the three-month period has been marked as the spawning season of pelagic fish species.

“Nagapakita nga amo ni ang period sang breeding or spawning season sang tatlo ka species nga isda. So, dapat i-allow naton ang magagmay nga mga isda para magdalagku and i-allow naton ang nagabusong, nagabihod nga isda para mag-contribute sang population dira sang isda sa Visayan Sea,” explained Aparri, citing scientific studies.

Aparri said they have intensified information drive by educating fishermen on the salient provisions of the Fisheries Administrative Order (FAO) 167-3, the policy that establishes the annual closed season at the Visayan Sea.

“Very critical nga kon ma-manage or mapatuman naton ang  FAO No. 167-3 nga amo ni closed season kay ma-ensure naton nga maga-damo ang amo ni klasi sang isda after three months and this will support sang aton population for fish for this generation and future generation,” she added.

The amended administrative order specifies the prohibitions and the corresponding penalties for the violators like imprisonment for six months to six years and fine of P6,000, depending on the gravity of the offense.

“Bawal gid ang pagbaligya, pagbakal, position kag pagpanguha sang amo na nga species sang isda for three months kay may penalties ka kon madakpan kaw,” Aparri stressed.

She enjoined local government officials and coastal communities to cooperate with the bureau in its effort to conserve and protect the existing marine species at the Visayan Sea.

The Visayan Sea, one of the country’s largest fishing grounds, is surrounded by the islands of Cebu and Negros to the south; Masbate to the north; Panay to the west; and Leyte to the east.

According to Aparri, the three-month fishing ban covers the following areas:

* Seas in northern Iloilo from Barotac Nuevo towards Carles;

* Roxas City, Pilar, Pontevedra, President Roxas in Capiz;

* E.B. Magalona, Victorias City, Manaplan, Sagay, Cadiz City, and Escalante City in Negros Island;

* Bantayan Island in Northern Cebu

According to Aparri, all stakeholders should know of the significant intentions of implementing this policy.

“Nagapanawagan ako liwat sa tanan nga stakeholders, sa aton mangingisda kag sa aton nga local government units nga magbuylog anay kita for three-months nga indi kamo magpanguha da sang involve nga fish species,” hambal ni Aparri.

The BFAR-6 chief also enjoined commercial fishing vessel operators to comply with the policy and avoid encroaching on the portion where fishing of the pelagic species has been banned./PN


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