Closed fishing season for sardines, mackerel, herring begins Nov. 15

THE Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Central Visayas (BFAR-7) has banned fishing for sardines, herring, and mackerel within the Visayan Sea for three months starting November 15, 2022.

Allan Poquita, BFAR 7 director, told SunStar Cebu Tuesday, November 15, 2022, that the temporary ban which has been practiced annually for several years already is meant to ensure the protection and conservation of the said species in the Visayan Sea.

The closed fishing season affecting around 22 coastal areas along the Visayan Sea is based on Fisheries Administrative Order (FAO) 167-3 issued in 2013.

The ban covers adjoining waters starting from the mouth of Danao River in Escalante, Negros Occidental, all the way up to the northeastern tip of Bantayan Island to the town of Madridrejos, through the lighthouse of Gigantes Island, Iloilo, to Olutaya Island, Culasi point in Capiz province.

The prohibition further extends eastward along the north coast of Capiz to Bulacaue Point in Carles Iloilo, southward along the eastern coast of Iloilo to the mouth of Talisay River, westward across the Guimaras Strait to Tomonton Point in Occidental Negros, and eastward along the northern coast of Negros.

The closure which will last until February 15, 2023 will affect at least 22 coastal areas: Roxas City, Panay, Pontevedra, President Roxas, Pilar, Balasan, Carles, Estancia, Batad, San Dionisio, Concepcion, Ajuy, Barotac Viejo, Banate, Anilao, Barotac Nuevo, EB Magalona, Victorias, Manapia, Cadiz, Sagay, and Escalante.

Poquita said based on their research, these are the spawning areas of sardines, herring and mackerel where adult fishes release eggs to produce more offsprings.

Poquita said the closed season has been very helpful in increasing the sardines and mackerel harvest within the Visayas coastal areas.

A study from BFAR-Western Visayas revealed that the biomass of fish along the Visayan Sea has declined from 1940 up to the present due to unsustainable fishing practices such as the use of dynamite, gill nets, and beach seines.

Poquita said in order to strictly enforce the closed season, BFAR’s Fisheries Management Regulatory and Enforcement Division will conduct seaborne patrol inspections.

Those caught violating the order will be penalized with a fine of P20,000 up to P500,000, imprisonment of six months to six years, and cancellation of the fishing permit.