The Visayan Sea “closed season,” which prohibits catching and selling of sardines, herrings, and mackerels in the area, will begin Sunday, November 15, until February 15, 2021.
Remia Aparri, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Western Visayas director, said agriculture and fisheries proved to be the most important sector during the pandemic and natural disasters, adding, “these sectors provided and keeps providing us our primary need – food.”
The bureau is calling on the citizens to take part in looking after the sea while it takes the much-needed rest through the “closed season,” she said.
Areas in Negros Occidental covered by the closure include EB Magalona, Victorias City, Manapla, Sagay City, Cadiz City, and Escalante City.
Other parts of Western Visayas, and Bantayan Island in Central Visayas were also covered by the “closed season.”
Fisheries Administrative Order (FAO) 167-3 series of 2013 stated that the closed season was for the conservation of sardines, herrings, mackerels in the area, adding that it provides for the legal basis in enforcing a spatial and temporal closure in a portion of the Visayan Sea.
The Visayan Sea as a vast fishing ground is surrounded by the 33 cities and municipalities of the provinces of Capiz, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Cebu, and Masbate, Aparri said.
She added, “as a vital resource, it is home to hectares upon hectares of corals, mangroves, seagrasses, and marine protected areas. But it is also vulnerable and threatened by cases of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and increasing marine debris.”
“As stakeholders, we enjoin everyone to take part in ‘Bantay Visayan Sea’ while it takes its much-deserved rest,” she said.*