‘Tamban’ fishing ban lifted, sardine canneries reopen PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 03 March 2012 13:50

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has lifted the three-month ban on fishing for fresh sardines, locally known as “tamban,” for the 11 sardine canneries in this city.

BFAR Director Asis Perez formally announced the resumption of fishing for sardines in the Sulu Sea, a signal for the 11 canneries to resume operations and for the some two dozen fishing fleets in the city to resume fishing for sardines in the seas.

The announcement was made during a meeting with owners of canneries and fishing fleets in this city held at a local hotel.

The government imposed a “closed season” for fishing of sardines from December to February to give time for sardines to spawn and multiply in time for the fishing operations that begin this month.

The lifting of the ban will enable the some 30,000 workers in these canneries and fishing fleets to return to work after a three-month period of idleness because of the closed season.

While some of them found work elsewhere, the majority endured the period and they will be back to work this week.

During the closed season for fishing of sardines, some of the canneries with frozen stocks managed to continue production for a time but eventually closed in the absence of raw materials.

Canneries spent the three months to recondition their machines while the fishing fleets took time to repair nets and prepare for the next fishing season that opened this month.

The suspension of operations of the canneries and fishing fleets has also forced an increase in the price of canned sardines nationwide according to the law of supply and demand.

It also affected the export of the product during the period.

The BFAR deployed three vessels to patrol the seas against anyone who might want to disobey the fishing ban. No illegal fisherman was nabbed during the season.

The BFAR also used one of these vessels to research on the spawning season of the fish.

Last month, BFAR Regional Director Ahadula Sajili confirmed that studies conducted during the three-month closed season showed that sardines were spawning during the period as evidenced by eggs found in sardines caught during the period by the research team.

While the conclusion is not enough, Sajili said that this was enough to justify the ban.

On the other hand, BFAR Director Perez said more studies will be needed to institutionalize the closed season period to allow the fish to multiply.

The open season for fishing sardines begins this month and will end November, BFAR officials said.