DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Despite the ongoing implementation of the closed fishing season along the Davao Gulf, global warming, and climate change could potentially decrease the production of the fishing industry in the region.
In a press conference, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Davao Regional Director Fatma Idris said that the projected boost in the industry’s production brought about by fifth annual closed season might be affected by current environmental issues, triggered by climate change.
At the end of the three-month non-fishing policy last year, a considerable increase of 25 to 30 percent production was observed.
Yet Idris recalled that earlier reports show a trend of decline such as the 2015 National Stock Assessment Program (NSAP) which revealed an estimated four percent decrease in the region’s production in comparison to the 3, 522 metric tons catch in 2014.
Thus, the results of the 2018 closed season from June 1 to August 31 could still become insignificant given the persistent presence of other intervening factors.
Given this possibility, however, Idris assured the public that fish stocks remain sufficient for given demands since regions like Zamboanga and Region XII transport abundant fish supply to many cities in Davao as well.
“For now we don’t see any problem because the supply is still stable,” Idris added.
The effectivity of the closed season is anchored on Administrative Circular No. 2 or the Joint Administrative Order (JOA) 02 s 2014 by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), a regulation that prohibits large-scale fishing from June to August of every year of species of fishes in Davao gulf that includes the big-eyed scad, skipjack tuna, species of tuna, scad, mackerel, and moonfish.
Small-scale fisher folks, on the other hand, are permitted to operate as long as they utilize natural fishing methods that provide no threat to fishes especially since the season coincides hatching period.
Three patrol vessels have been tasked to enforce JAO 02-2014 while a MCS-3003 constantly to monitor the waters of Region XI, XII and the Caraga region.
Since 2015, three cases of violation against the closed season have been reported by the Coast Guard and other marine authorities in the region. The 2017 violator has already yielded to settle the penalty amounting to P9, 000
They were arrested for violating Section 100 of the Implementing Rules and Regulation (IRR) of Republic Act No. 8550 as amended by 10654 or the Fisheries Code of 1998, prohibiting fishing activities during the closed season.
According to Atty. Rachel Mernil Bacera, BFAR XI Hearing Officer, since the opening of 2018, the office has identified 16 cases of illegal fishing and marine practices, 13 have been settled, two are under investigation and one is ongoing hearing.
There has been no report already about foreign poaching since the last incident in 2012, after the devastating Typhoon Pablo, when two Taiwanese vessels were impounded.
Free Fishing Boats
Idris also said the distribution of free fiberglass boats to fishermen all over Davao region would About 2000 units have already been distributed to 4,000 beneficiaries since 2016, with each boat required to be shared by two fishermen.
The government is still working on the additional target of delivering 100 units of 21-footer boats per municipal fishing before the end of the term of the current administration.
For areas facing the Pacific Ocean, the Department of Agriculture gave 30-footer boats to tuna fisher folks especially in localities like Governor Generoso, Davao Oriental, where tuna is abundant.
“As long as we have materials, we can request the fisher folks to make their boats,” Idris said after sharing that each boat amounts to P60, 000.
The BFAR also emphasized that all those engaged in fishing should submit themselves for registration via BFAR satellites and mobile registration sites.
Projects such as the free fishing boats distribution are only available to registered fishermen with only their catch production estimate as a requirement.
Beneficiary fishermen would also be asked to participate in coastal cleanups and marine life propagation as well as serving as intelligence counterparts on the matter of law violations. (davaotoday.com)