Govt lifts closed sardine fishing season in Zamboanga Peninsula

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The Department of Agriculture–Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) officially lifted on Monday the 10th closed fishing season for sardines in the Zamboanga Peninsula.

For a decade now, the closed fishing season has been implemented in accordance to Bureau Administrative Circular (BAC) No. 255 as a marine conservation measure to help protect and conserve sardine species in the Zamboanga Peninsula or Region 9.

“Beginning every December 1, the closed fishing season bans for three months the catching of sardines using purse seine, ringnet, bagnet and scoopnet within a conservation area covering the East Sulu Sea, Basilan Strait, and Sibuguey Bay. By enforcing the closed season, sardines fish stocks are able to replenish and recover, ensuring the abundance of sardines and other fishery resources in the area,” DA-BVAR said in a statement.

Data from Region 9’s National Stock Assessment Program showed an upward trend in sardine production with the volume reaching an all-time high of 297,683.49 MT in 2020 since 2011, the year when the implementation of the closed season was started in Zamboanga. This is a significant indicator especially in sardine-rich Zamboanga waters, which account for an average production of 49.25 percent of the country’s total sardine from 2010 to 2020, based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.

“More than ever, now is the time to take advantage of this open fishing season to take part in ensuring the country’s food supply.” DA-BFAR National Director Eduardo B. Gongona said in his speech during the Lifting Ceremony held on Monday,

Adding that with the active participation of law enforcement units, the local government, the private sector and stakeholders, including local fisherfolk and key players in the sardine industry, the government, through the DA-BFAR, was able to implement effective conservation and management measures, including the sardine closed season.

Zamboanga Peninsula as well as in other major sardine fishing grounds in the country is integrated in the National Sardines Management Plan (NSMP).

“As we sail again to the waters of Zamboanga, we are hopeful to receive the abundance of aquatic resources reinforced by our unwavering support towards fishery conservation and management,” Gongona said.

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