By Mary Grace Padin
THE Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (Bfar) said on Monday fishing activities may now resume on the waters off Northeastern Palawan, as the closed season for round scad (galunggong) in that fishing ground has already ended.
February 1, Monday, marked the end of the first closed season for round scad in Palawan.
The agency attached to the Department of Agriculture (DA) said the three-month closed season, which began in November 2015, was done to ensure the increased and long-term supply of round scad in the country.
Bfar said there has been a decline in the volume of galunggong in the country in recent years.
“Production data from the Philippine Statistics Authority [PSA] showed a 40-percent decrease of galunggong caught in the waters off Palawan and landed in Navotas from 2002 to 2012. BFAR’s National Stock Assessment Program has, likewise, indicated overfishing of galunggong in the said fishing ground,” the Bfar said in a statement.
For commercial fishing alone, PSA data revealed that the country’s round-scad production in 2015 declined by 14.24 percent to 169,028.40 metric tons (MT), from 197,090.1 MT. Palawan’s contribution to this volume last year dropped by 10.67 percent to 5,750.79 MT, as compared to 6,437.92 MT recorded in 2014.
This prompted the government to implement the closed season, which is the same conservation measure used to protect sardines and other pelagic species during their spawning periods.
Fishing operators were fully engaged during the data gathering, planning and implementation of the closed season, the Bfar said.
The agency said it is “optimistic” that the success it has had from the previous closed seasons in the Visayan Sea, Davao Gulf and Zamboanga Peninsula will be replicated in Palawan.
As a means to cover the supply of fish during the implementation of the closed seasons, the Bfar said it is intensifying its support for the aquaculture subsector.
The aquaculture subsector has laid out its targets and action plans to improve the country’s fisheries production in the newly updated Comprehensive National Fisheries Industry Development Plan 2016 to 2020.
The Bfar added that it is maintaining equal support for the other three fisheries subsectors—post-harvest, marketing and capture fisheries—in which the closed seasons are implemented.