The Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) lifted the three-month closed fishing season in the Visayan Sea on Tuesday, February 16.
Under Fisheries Administrative Order (FAO) No. 167-3 s. 2013, the government places the Visayan Sea and its vicinities under closed fishing season from November 15 to February 15 every year to ensure the protection and conservation of sardines and herrings, as well as mackerels during their spawning period.
Recent data from the Philippine Statistics Authority shows an overall Philippine production of 391, 175.92 MT of sardines in 2020.
Out of this volume, 15, 782.52 MT or 4.03 percent came from the Visayan Sea. There are six major fishing grounds and several other fishing areas for sardines in the country.
“Knowing its importance to our country’s economy and overall food security, it is our duty to protect these species from further degradation using a science-based approach to fisheries management, parallel with the strategies of the OneDA approach to effect transformation in the agro-fishery sector,” DA-BFAR National Director Eduardo Gongona said.
Conservation measures like the sardine closed season are integrated in the National Sardines Management Plan, which the DA-BFAR is already adopting.
During the implementation of the closed season in the Visayan Sea, the DA-BFAR, through its Fisheries Protection and Law Enforcement Group (FPLEG), conducted land-based and seaborne patrol operations, as well as monitoring and surveillance operations through the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite.
From November 2020 to February 2021, the Bureau deployed a total of eight floating assets and 38 field personnel in the Visayan Sea, apprehending four vessels for unauthorized fishing and one for the use of destructive methods of fishing.*