BFAR imposes 3-month fishing ban in Visayan sea
CEBU CITY—For the next three months, fishing of some species at the Visayan Sea would be prohibited, said the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Central Visayas (BFAR-7).
Starting on Nov. 15 until Feb. 15, 2023, fishers would not be allowed to catch pelagic species such as sardines, herrings and mackerels from the Visayan Sea to allow them to spawn and flourish in number, BFAR-7 said in a social media post on Thursday.
The ban, which was based on the Fisheries Administrative Order No. 167-3 issued in 2013, was also intended to sustain the livelihood of small-scale or municipal fishers.
“In the end, the fishery sector will benefit from this policy, which is expected to recover the fish population in the Visayan Sea—one of the country’s major fishing grounds,” the BFAR-7’s advisory read.
Based on the bureau’s research, November to February is the peak of the spawning period for sardines, mackerels and herrings.
The bureau recently conducted an information drive in northern Cebu to help fisherfolk understand the matter.
Allan Poquita, BFAR-7 director, said in a media interview on Friday that closing the Visayan Sea helps increase the population of fishes in the area.
To make sure the ban would be implemented, Poquita said BFAR-7 will conduct seaborne patrol inspections at the Visayan Sea.
Violators face a fine of P20,000 to P500,000, imprisonment for six months to six years and cancellation of the fishing permit.
The fishing ban at the Visayan Sea affects 22 coastal areas in the provinces of Capiz, Iloilo, Cebu and Negros Occidental.
The Visayan Sea is bounded by the islands Masbate to the north, Panay to the west, Leyte to the east, and Cebu and Negros to the south.
The sea is also connected to several bodies of water: the Sibuyan Sea to the northwest via the Jintotolo Channel, the Samar Sea to the northeast, the Guimaras Strait to the southwest which leads to the Panay Gulf, the Tañon Strait to the south and the Camotes Sea to the southeast.
The largest island within the sea is Bantayan Island of Cebu province.
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