BFAR starts 3-month ban on sardine fishing in Sulu Sea, Basilan Strait
COTABATO CITY, Philippines — The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BFAR-ARMM) said it has started implementing a three-month ban on sardine fishing off Sulu Sea and Basilan Strait to allow the fish to spawn freely, an ARMM fishery official said.
“The annual ban is intended to conserve the population (of sardines),” Jerusalem Abdullahim, chief of the Fisheries Regulatory and Law Enforcement Division of BFAR-ARMM, said in a statement.
The ban will last until March 31.
The ban on sardine fishing also covers Sibuguey Bay in Zamboanga Sibugay and covers the selling, buying and possessing of sardines caught within the conservation area, which has a total of approximately 6,481.80 square nautical miles, or 22,260.36 square kilometers, according to Abdullahim.
This is the fifth annual ban imposed by the fishery office during the spawning period that starts in December and ends in March.
“Our office has deployed patrol vessels in the island provinces in collaboration with the Philippine Navy, Coast Guard and Maritime Police to enforce the closed season,” he added.
Violators of the fishing ban will be penalized with confiscation of catch and gear, and an administrative fine equivalent to five times the value of the catch, or a penalty ranging from P50,000, for small-scale commercial fishing to P5 million for large-scale commercial fishing.
The waters off Zamboanga and the island provinces in the ARMM, specifically Sulu and Basilan, are not the only areas where sardine fishing ban is being implemented.
The BFAR national office has also imposed a sardine fishing ban in the Visayan Sea and its surrounding waters.
But the seas around Zamboanga peninsula, Sulu and Basilan are considered the major areas for sardine fishing and also host other spawning marine species such as tuna.
The ARMM alone, which has 221,784 fisherfolks, has produced 1,328.17 metric tons of sardines or tamban as it is locally known from July to September 2015. SFM
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