Lobregat reiterates call for marine life protection PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 08 February 2012 13:37

Mayor Celso Lobregat has reiterated the government’s call for the protection and conservation of marine resources in the city and the region as a whole to ensure food security and sustainable livelihood for fisher folks in this part of the country.

Lobregat issued the statement during the opening program of the three-day Coastal and Fisheries Resource Management Training yesterday morning at the Grand Astoria Hotel, this city.

He said Zamboanga City is known as the “Sardines Capital of the Philippines,” owing to its abundance of fish and the manufacture of the country’s leading brands of canned sardines. “But if we do not manage properly and protect our marine resources from destruction and depletion, that branding is going to naught,” the mayor said.

“Everything has limit. If we overfish, then our marine resources will be depleted,” he said, citing for instance Tamban and Galonggong, the primary fish for sardines, are getting smaller and smaller “because we do not allow them to spawn and propagate.”

This, the chief executive said, is the reason for the government-imposed ban on fishing particularly for Tamban species from December of 2011 to March of 2012 to allow the fish to spawn. The ban came much earlier than the self-imposed closed fishing season among the canning and fishing companies.

“At first, there was a problem but with our intervention we were able to solve the problem,” Lobregat said.

To recall, the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) last quarter of last year 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.

The transitory provision was a win-win solution recommended by Mayor 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.

“We have all benefitted from our marine resources. Zamboanga City would not have been called the country’s Sardine Capital had it not been for our rich sardinella supply. But we cannot expect such supply to last for eternity. If the rate at which we catch fishes continues, if we catch more than the fishes have time to reproduce, the time would come when not one tamban is left to catch,” Lobregat has said. — Vic Larato