BFAR to big fishers: be responsible as open season starts

THE BUREAU of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in the region reminded commercial fishing vessels (CFVs) to be responsible now that this year’s open season in Davao Gulf will start by Sept. 1.

The open season means that CFVs can now resume operations and use bag and ring nets to catch fish in the Davao Gulf.

However, as required by Republic Act 10654 (Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Fisheries Code), CFVs are required to be at least 15 kilometers away from municipal fishing waters where there are small, local fishermen.

BFAR-XI regional director Fatma Idris said that CFVs should already be prepared for the next closed season on June to August next year.

“They should be responsible for their crew and should be ready to give alternative livelihood to their workers,” she said.

Idris said that common concern of small fishermen during open season is when CFVs tend to tread municipal waters.

During this year’s closed season, one CFV with no license was caught and intercepted by BFAR patrol in Pujada Bay in Davao Oriental.

Idris said that there are currently 47,000 registered fisherfolk in the Davao Region and there are 1.7 million throughout the country.

Dr. Nilo Katada, officer in charge of the BFAR central office’s law enforcement section, said that continuous seaborne operation keeps CFVs away from municipal waters.

Common reported incidents by these patrols are CFVs operating without registration from Marina and fishing license from BFAR.

Seine fishing (or seine-haul fishing), a method of fishing that employs a seine or dragnet, is also a common practice throughout the country but this shouldn’t be allowed, he said.

Jerry Dela Cerna, manager of the Governor Generoso-based Barog Katawhan Cooperative, said that he is hopeful that the president will make good of his promise to create a separate department for fisheries and marine resources.

At the local level, he said that he is also hoping that a management authority will be organized to combine efforts of the local government, DILG, BFAR, and barangays and armed forces to protect the Davao Gulf.

He said that there is a strong need to manage and study marine resources and to improve livelihood of fisherfolk who only earn a little from their catches.

“Every region in should also have a university studying fishes,” he said.

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