Sardine catches in Bicol, Samar decline at alarming rate – Manila bulletin
The decline in sardine catches in Bicol and Samar is now at an alarming rate, prompting the international organization Oceana to urge the Philippine government to prioritize and speed up the implementation of the national sardine management plan. .
Oceana recently published the results of its study, “Development of the Sardine Management Plan for Fisheries Management Zone 7”, revealing the continuing decline of sardines in Bicol and Samar. The study assessed the conditions of sardine stocks in the fishing zones of Fisheries Management Zone 7 from February 2020 to March 2021.
Dr Wilfredo Campos of the University of the Philippines – Visayas, who led the study, warned of the dire consequences of overfishing in the region.
“Many Filipinos depend on sardines not only for food but also for a living, making it one of the most important resources for ensuring food security in the country. It is therefore imperative that the government protect our species of sardines which are now on the verge of collapse, ”added Gloria Estenzo Ramos, Vice-President of Oceana.
“We urge the implementation of the national sardine management plan in fisheries management areas to stop the dangerous decline of our sardine resources,” she added.
Approved by Secretary of Agriculture William D. Dar on May 15, 2020, the national sardine management plan aims to improve scientific indicators for the sustainability of fish stocks and the distribution of benefits among sardine fishing communities. and to strengthen scientific management for sustainable sardine fishing. by the end of 2025.
“It is very clear that sardine stocks are overexploited. And we must not wait for the limits, the objectives are exceeded. Besides monitoring, we need to think about measures to stop a further deterioration in the state of the stock, ”Campos said.
“In other words, it doesn’t matter who fishes, the total amount taken needs to be regulated. All scientific measurements are good, but there will be no additional science that can change the situation from overexploited to good. Science won’t do that, ”he added.
Strong fishing pressure and environmental changes over time have taken their toll on the country’s rich sardine resources. Data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that catches of the bali (tamban) and fibriati (lawlaw / tuloy) sardine species decreased significantly by 26.4 percent, from 442,045.75 metric tonnes ( MT) in 2010 to 325,226.20 MT in 2019.
Oceana’s latest study monitored FMA 7 fishing areas, in particular Balatan in Camarines Sur, Pio Duran in Albay, Monreal on Ticao Island and the main fishing vessel operating station in Bulan , Sorsogon.
GPS trackers were installed on fishing vessels operating in the area and allowed the team to monitor fishing activities in FMA 7 over time. Through this, the team discovered that 60 percent of the total 60,000 MT captured in FMA 7 came from the Bulan station.
“More than three quarters of the catches at Bulan are below the size at first maturity. Many juveniles are caught in this area and we need to implement measures to reduce this by regulating the fishing effort – the number of vessels, the frequency of catches and when they are allowed to operate, ”Campos said.
The recommendations made by Campos would be covered by the implementation of the National Sardine Management Plan.
“As our scientists have said, now is the time to act to save our declining sardine resource. It is crucial that the management board of the sardine-rich fisheries management area 7 consider the immediate integration and implementation of the national sardine management plan. We need to act quickly before our sardine resources deteriorate further and it becomes even more difficult for these sardine species to recover, ”said Ramos.
Oceana is dedicated to protecting the world’s oceans. Since 2014, Oceana has been working closely with national and local government agencies, civil society, fishermen and other stakeholders to restore the abundant fisheries and marine resources of the Philippines.
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