DA, DILG OK Celso’s transition plan; closed fishing season starts Dec. 1 PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 24 November 2011 13:58

The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) recently issued a joint administrative order (AO) establishing a closed season for the conservation of sardines with a transitory provision setting the period this year from December 1, 2011 to March 1, 2012.

City Agriculturist Diosdado Palacat said the transitory provision was some sort of a win-win solution recommended by Mayor Celso Lobregat intended to diffuse the tension between the Bureau of Fishery and Aquatic Resources (under the DA) and concerned stakeholders over the period of the imposition of the closed season for commercial fishing.

The mayor’s proposal was presented during a dialogue between BFAR officials and representatives from canning and fishing groups held at the behest of the chief executive at the Garden Orchid Hotel sometime August.

Under the joint AO signed by DA Secretary Proceso Alcala and DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo, the closed season for the first year of implementation shall be from Dec. 1, 2011 to March 1, 2012 “subject to the conduct of peer review before and after this period, by scientists from the BFAR and the academe and industry experts, to determine which between the months of November and December, both peak spawning months of sardines in the conservation area based on available scientific studies, should the closed season commence that would best ensure the non-extinction and conservation of the species.”

The BFAR, through its National Director Atty. Asis Perez, has originally proposed November 1 as the start of the closed fishing season which will cover the East Sulu sea, Basilan Strait and Sibuguey Bay. The proposal was strongly opposed by the fishing industry which has been voluntarily implementing the closed fishing season starting December until March for the last two decades.

Palacat said the agencies concerned to look after the welfare of displaced workers have met on several occasions to tackle measures including the creation of a Technical Working Group (TWG). The group is chaired by the Department of Labor with the City Agriculturist Office, City Social welfare Office, Department of Science and Technology (DOST), DA-9, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), BFAR, Industrial Group of Zamboanga Inc. (IGZI), Southern Philippines Deep Sea Fishing (SOPHIL).

The DOLE is tasked to secure the list of displaced workers with the corresponding training they wish to undergo. The City Agriculturist Office is tasked to conduct the skills training on food and fish processing while TESDA and DOST will take charge of the livelihood trainings.

The DA will provide the seeds; the BFAR and DOLE will provide emergency employment while the City Social welfare Office with the DOLE will prioritize the sons and daughters of displaced workers during the Summer Program for the Employment of Students (SPES). The BFAR will also pay the planting of propagules to the displaced workers. — Sheila Covarrubias