Big commercial vessels now banned from catching ‘tamban’ PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 01 December 2011 14:51

Commercial fishing vessels can no longer catch tamban (sardines)  for three months from December to February from the sea of Dipolog City Zamboanga del Norte going down to Sulu sea as it has been declared by the government as “closed fishing season” which is intended to allow tamban to spawn, lay eggs and to reproduce in order to replenish the fish stock within the region’s territorial waters.

In a press conference aboard a Bureau of  Fisheries and Aquatic Resources  vessel docked at the Wee Bin wharf,  BFAR National Director  Asis Perez told newsmen that a scientific study showed the sea of Dipolog City  Zamboanga del Norte going down to Sulu sea is a major spawning ground of tamban.  

Sustained and massive fishing by commercial fishing vessels have dissipated the fish stock in the region’s territorial waters, prompted the government to imposed the “closed fishing season.”

“As provided by the Fisheries Law, we will secure the spawning ground in partnership with the Police Regional Office 9, Philippine Coast Guard District Zamboanga  and the Naval Forces Western Mindanao.

Prohibited to catch tamban fish are those big commercial fishing vessels but local small scale fisherfolks can continue to do so within 12 kilometers from the municipal waters, according to BFAR.

Perez clarified that big commercial fishing vessels can continue to catch other fish but not tamban.

“If they catch tamban, they should release it immediately,” Perez said.

PRO9 Director Chief Supt. Elpidio Z. De Asis Jr. said that in joint operations with BFAR and PCG, they will conduct information dissemination among big-time fishing vessels not to catch tamban fish.

The join task force will also tap officials of municipalities to inform local fisherfolks and commercial fishing vessels not to catch tamban fish within their areas of jurisdiction.

He also said the public can contact him or send information of illegal fishing through cellphone number 0928 788 3644.

PCG District Zamboanga Chief Commodore Enrico Efren A. Evangelista also said that his command has three vessels  to secure the spawning area and conduct sea patrol with combined forces of PRO9 police troopers  with the help of the NAVFRWESCOM.

Perez said that BFAR scientists have estimated that tamban fish lay eggs  totalling 100,000 kilograms or 225,000,000,000 in just one night, but only 22,500,000 survive to become grown fish or an equivalent to 1,125,000 kilograms with a total market value of P19,125,000 per night.

The Industrial Group of Zamboanga had earlier expressed apprehension that the “closed fishing season” may cause 30,000 workers from the fishing and canning industries in Zamboanga City and other parts of the region to be out of job for four to five months.

IGZ said it may result to the increase of retail prices of canned sardines by 20% this coming months and there will be acute supply shortage (of canned sardines) by the first quarter of next year. — Allen Abastillas