BFAR cites former mayor’s role in sardine conservation PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 17 March 2014 11:05

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has stepped up its advocacy to improve the condition of fisheries and their habitats in the Sulu-Celebes Sea as it cited anew the significant role played by former mayor and now District I Representative Celso Lobregat in the successful implementation of the campaign.

BFAR-9 Director Ahadulla Sajili said the campaign kicked off 2012 with the implementation of the fishery plan establishing the closed season for the conservation of sardines in this part of the country. From then on the project has expanded and is now called the Sulu-Celebes Sea Sustainable Fisheries Management Project which is done in partnership with neighboring countries of Malaysia and Indonesia.

Sajili said the BFAR is thankful to the former mayor, who intervened to diffuse a brewing controversy between the bureau and the industrial group in the city prior to the implementation of the closed fishing season from December 1, 2011 to March 1, 2012.

He said amid the raging controversy over the period of the closed season for commercial fishing, Mayor Lobregat interceded and facilitated the “meeting of the minds” that resulted to an acceptable, feasible and implementable plan.

The controversy then stemmed from the BFAR’s supposed directive, moving the closed season for commercial fishing from December to March to November to February, a move that was strongly opposed by the canning factories and commercial fishermen and other stakeholders. The oppositors claimed they were not consulted on the issue and that because of the change their operations will be greatly affected.

The oppositors insisted then that the closed season should begin in December to give them ample time to prepare while the BFAR stood pat on its position that the closed season starts in November citing scientific and empirical data.

Sajili said this as the information campaign dubbed Lana Sardinas, a project spearheaded by the Ateneo de Zamboanga University Communications Department in partnership with BFAR’s National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI) at a local hotel last Friday. The campaign is aimed to create greater awareness about the importance of protecting the Sulu-Celebes sea.

No less than BFAR Executive Director Atty. Asis Perez also lauded Lobregat’s efforts then, saying that the latter’s intervention resulted to a very good solution at that time.  “Good thing at that time, our mayor took a very good initiative of making sure that the parties discuss this properly and that the parties come up with the right solution”. — Rey Carbonel