The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (Bfar) and the Panguil Bay Development Council (PDBC) on Friday declared Panguil Bay in Mindanao as free from sanggab.
Sanggab or filter nets are illegal fishing structures that proliferated in Panguil Bay, a fishing ground in Mindanao. Based on the Bfar’s assessment, there were 2,273 units of sanggab in the area.
“We provided assistance to affected fishermen for four months only as after this duration, we reaped the harvest of this initiative as we can catch bigger and more fish,” Tangub City Mayor and PBDC member Philip Tan said in a statement.
Panguil Bay, which sprawls across two cities and 10 municipalities in Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur and Misamis Occidental, was one of the richest fishing grounds in Mindanao and habitat to indigenous fisheries species, such as tiger prawn (sugpo), marine water shrimps (hipon), mud crab (alimango), window pane shells and other kinds of shells, known locally as agihis, that serves as food for prawns and fish of commercial value.
Over the years, Panguil Bay has suffered from various problems, including dwindling fish stocks and illegal fishing.
In April 2014, the PBDC was revived to manage the bay and halt all forms of illegal and unsustainable fishing activities.
The council is composed of governors from the provinces of Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur and Misamis Occidental, local chief executives, BFAR Regions 9 and 10, Mindanao State University-Naawan, and chief officers of 11 national government agencies, which include the departments of Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources and Science and Technology.
To ensure the sustainability of this initiative, Tan said, the local government of Tangub conducts weekly monitoring of the Bay.