BFAR cites Lobregat’s role in fishery management plan PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 15 September 2012 14:20

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has publicly acknowledged the significant role played by Mayor Celso Lobregat in the successful implementation of a fishery plan establishing a closed season for the conservation of sardines in this part of the country.

BFAR National Director Atty. Asis yesterday expressed extreme gratitude, as he recounted how Mayor Lobregat 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, though yet to be signed, 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 close season should begin in December to give them ample time to prepare while the BFAR stood pat on its position that the close season starts in November citing scientific and empirical data. 

He [Mayor Lobregat] facilitated this process and it resulted to a very good solution at the time, Atty. De Asis said in his message during a meeting of the technical working group on sardines Friday morning that aimed to determine the start of the implementation of the closed fishing season this year. “But 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”.

The BFAR director said the right solution was reached at last year and the result of which was the 99.8 percent implementation of the plan. “In other words, dahil sa single effort na yon, mas madali nating natupad at mas komportable tayong lahat mapatupad [ang plano]”.

He disclosed that the successful fishery plan on sardines became a reference for the implementation of a plan for the tuna industry in the country.

“Hindi lang ho tayo natigil sa sardinas, nakuha pa ho natin yong tuna, naging reference po yon. Naipakita natin na kaya nating ipatupad, kaya nating gawin ito –pinagtitiwalaan po tayo at ito po yong klase ng tiwala na makakamit natin if we will continue to work together”, Atty. De Asis said.

He likewise emphasized that working together and managing the resources properly will ensure a continuous sardine business in this part of the country.

The BFAR, he added will be happy to see that Zamboanga is not only the sardine capital of the Philippines but perhaps in the future, the Sardine Capital of Asia.

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

The transitory provision was a win-win solution recommended by Mayor Celso Lobregat that intended to diffuse the tension between the two parties. 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 last year.     Under the joint AO signed by DA Secretary Proceso Alcala and the late DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo, the closed season for the first year of implementation was 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.”

For this year, the BFAR director said the decision whether or not to start the implementation of the closed fishing season on November or December will be based on the recommendation of the study.

No issuance of any administrative order is required but merely a declaration on the agreement on the basis of scientific, practical and economic factors, he added.

Also attending the meeting held at a hotel in Gov. Camins yesterday were BFAR Regional Director Ahadulla Sajili and staff, Dr. Mudjikeewis Santos- Assistant National Coordintor Sulu-Celebes Sea Sustainable Fisheries Management Project, representatives from the canning and commercial fishing sectors and other stakeholders. — Sheila Covarrubias