Closed fishing season for sardines starts on Dec. 1 PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 29 October 2012 14:36

Implementation of the closed season for sardine fishing in the east Sulu sea, Basilan Strait and Sibugay Bay will start December 1, 2012 to March 1, 2013, based on a resolution approved by the Technical Working Group (TWG) commissioned by the Department of Agriculture through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

In a letter addressed to Mayor Celso Lobregat, BFAR-9 Regional Director Ahadulla Sajili informed that members of the TWG during a meeting last September 14, have agreed to set the closed fishing season from Dec. 1-March 1 pursuant to provisions of the Joint Administrative Order 1, series of 2011 of the DA and the Department of Interior and Local Government.

The TWG likewise cited the partial and progress results of the various validation studies on sardines and other inputs from multi-sectoral agencies, inclusive of the comments provided during the peer reviews before and after the first closed fishing season on sardines the same period last year.

Nevertheless, the time set (Dec. 1, 2012 to Marc 1, 2013) is still subject to the continuous conduct of peer review before and after the period, according to Sajili.

The members of the TWG represent the key agencies and organizations and stakeholders in the fishing industry and these include Edgar Lim, Roberto Baylosis, Jose Suan, George Ledesma, Dr. Rosalio Tenorio, Dr. Arthur Panganiban, Muhaimin Albani, Dr. Eduardo Bisquera Jr., Eugene Yap and Dr. Asuncion de Guzman.

The DA and the DILG in August 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.

In setting the period for the closed fishing season last year, the joint AO  stressed that the period was “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.”

Recall that the setting of the date for the closed fishing season last year initially resulted to a dispute between the BFAR and the canning and fishing sectors in the city, until Lobregat intervened. 

The BFAR then wanted to impose the fishing ban effective Nov. 1 but the fishing sector opted to start Dec. 1, the period that the group has adopted ever since.
To diffuse the tension, Lobregat recommended a transition period in the imposition of the fishing ban pending validation of data through joint studies- a recommendation approved by the national government and incorporated in the joint administrative order. — Sheila Covarrubias