By Ernesto A. Delgado
MASBATE CITY, Oct 3 (PIA) — Fishermen will be prohibited from catching sardines in Burias Strait for three months beginning December to allow the favorite fish species to reproduce and ensure supply for the coming year, a plan of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources said.
BFAR Provincial Officer Jesus Badillo said the fishing moratorium from November to January next year will allow mature sardines (known to local fisher folks as law-law) to breed freely during their spawning season.
Burias Strait—the fishing ground between the island of Burias and the western coasts of Camarines Sur, Albay and Sorsogon—is a major source of sardines, which are canned for domestic and exports markets.
Badillo said the bureau is talking with several stakeholders to ensure the success of the temporary closure, noting that discussions held with sardine processors and fishermen in Zamboanga where a similar moratorium successfully replenished sardine stocks made it possible to win compliance.
Taking note also of the steady increase in catch of sardines in the seas off the Zamboanga Peninsula since the ban was lifted in March, Badillo said it would be to the lasting advantage of fishermen to agree to such a temporary closure.
A BFAR study obtained by Publiko indicated that for every ton of fish left to spawn, a three-fold increase in the quantity of the fish is expected.
The Bureau of Agricultural Statistics’ data for 2010 show that sardines represents about 26 percent of the 1.24 million metric ton (MMT) catch from commercial fisheries and 11 percent of the 1.18 MMT municipal fish catch.
In 2011, however, the total catch went down by 24 percent to 109,000 MMT. (MAL/EAD-PIA5 Masbate)