3-month fishing ban in Visayan Sea starts

3-month fishing ban in Visayan Sea starts

/ 05:02 AM November 18, 2023

3-month fishing ban in Visayan Sea starts

NEEDED BREAK For the third straight year, the Visayan Sea spanning the major islands in the Visayas is closed to commercial fishing. —PHOTO COURTESY OF BUREAU OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES


ILOILO CITY—The government has imposed a three-month fishing ban in the Visayan Sea to combat the severe decline in fish population in this area in the Visayas due to overfishing.


Harvesting of varieties of sardine (“tuloy,” “tamban,” “tabagak”), herring (“balantiyong”) and mackerel (“guma-a,” “bulao,” “hasa-hasa”) will not be allowed in the area starting Nov. 15 until Feb. 15, 2024.


The conservation effort covers several areas in the Visayas, including the Talisay River in Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo; Tomonton Point in E.B. Magalona, Negros Occidental; Danao River in Escalante City; Sta. Fe and Madridejos in Cebu; and Gigantes Island in Carles, Iloilo.

The Visayan Sea, bordered by the islands of Cebu, Negros, Masbate, Panay and Leyte, is known for its rich marine biodiversity. Over 100,000 fisherfolk depend on it for sustenance and livelihood.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) office in the Western Visayas region will monitor marine resources during the three-month closed season which locals call “Pahuway sa Baybay” (respite of the sea).

The closure is meant to repropagate different fish species to ensure stable supply for fisherfolk.

“This [closed season] is a reflection of the government’s commitment to support the fishing industry while ensuring the long-term sustainability of the fishery resources. Through cooperation and collaboration, we can collectively design a brighter future for the Philippines’ fisheries sector,” said Agriculture Undersecretary Drusila Esther Bayate.

READ: There will be no fishing ban in PH, President Marcos assures


BFAR Western Visayas Director Remia Aparri, in an interview, said livelihood assistance through shellfish propagation would be extended to affected fisherfolk.


“From the [regulation of fishing activities] through limiting before, we are now advocating for a ‘respite of the sea’ during this three-month period. We will give the Visayan Sea time to recuperate and for the fishes to reproduce and grow,” said Aparri.

Former Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala in 2013 issued Fisheries Administrative Order No. 167-3 to implement the fishing ban in the Visayan Sea every year.

A BFAR study shows that November to February is the peak of the spawning period for sardine, mackerel and herring.

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The closure will affect commercial boats weighing 3.1 gross tons and up. Violators will be fined P6,000 or may be imprisoned for up to six years.Aside from BFAR, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Navy, Regional Maritime Group, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, Maritime Industry Authority, National Telecommunications Commission, Philippine Fisheries Development Authority and the Bureau of Customs in the Port of Iloilo have been tasked to monitor the situation during the closed fishing season.

TAGS: BFAR, Fishing, Visayan Sea

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