BFAR-7 blames overfishing for continuous decline in fish stocks in Central Visayas
CEBU CITY–The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Central Visayas (BFAR-7) reported the continued decline of the fish stocks in municipal waters despite the implementation of the closed season in the Visayan Sea.
In a press conference on Monday, BFAR-7 regional director Allan Poquita reported the continued decline of the fish stocks here from 1998 up to the present.
Poquita blamed overfishing and the use of fine mesh nets and other illegal fishing methods as among the causes for the decrease in fish stocks.
A Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) report on the country’s fisheries production also showed that the total fish production in Central Visayas dropped from over 184 million metric tons in 2016 to only 151.4 million metric tons in 2018.
But this figure already included the production generated by aquaculture or fish farms.
According to Poquita, the maximum fish catch should only reach 50 percent of the total fish catch to maintain sustainability.
He disclosed that municipal fishing operations account for 60 percent of fish caught while commercial fishing reached only 40 percent.
Poquita also announced that they have lifted the closed season in the Visayan Sea on Sunday.
BFAR-7 had imposed a closed season in the Visayan Sea from November 15 to February 15. This meant that fishing of sardines, herrings, and mackerels was not allowed during the period.
The closed season marked the spawning season of these species, according to BFAR-7.
The Visayan Sea is bounded by the islands of Cebu and Negros in the south; Masbate in the north; Panay in the west and Leyte in the east.
A joint enforcement team composed of BFAR-7 Philippine Coast Guard personnel have made four apprehensions against violators of the closed season. Among those apprehended were operators of commercial trawl fishing vessels while one was jailed for the use of explosives.
Poquita said they already filed administrative and criminal cases against these individuals. / dcb
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