CEBU CITY: The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Region 7 will implement a four-month “closed fishing season” within some parts of the Visayan Sea starting today to protect the dwindling edible fish species in the area.
BFAR 7 senior aquaculturist Larson Tan said parts of the Visayan Sea, including some parts in Cebu, will be closed to large-scale fishing until March 15 to allow the fish species to multiply.
The closure is in accordance with Fisheries Administrative Order (FAO) 167 which prohibits large-scale fishermen from catching edible species like sardines, herrings and mackerel.
The BFAR said sardine and mackerel are abundant in Western and Central Visayas, which produce 10 to 13 percent of the total production.
In 2011, the country’s production of sardine and mackerel decreased by 24 percent or from 600,000 metric tons in 2010 to just 472,000 metric tons the next year.
In Cebu, the BFAR order will only affect Bantayan Island.
Tan clarified that small-scale fishermen will not lose their livelihood.
“Small-scale fishermen can still fish because that’s their only source of income,” Tan said.
Large-scale fishermen caught fishing within the prohibited waters will be fined P6,000; penalized with a jail term of six months to six years and forfeiture of catch or cancellation of fishing permit or license.