02 OCTOBER 2014
DA-BFAR OPENS LUDONG CLOSED SEASON IN CAGAYAN
From “president’s fish” to “every man’s fish”
The Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) has implemented, yesterday, a closed season for high-value fish Ludong(Cestraeus sp) during its spawning period to improve its population.
For 45 days, the BFAR Administrative Circular (BAC) 247, a fishery regulation which prohibits individuals, associations or corporations from catching Ludong, is imposed from October 1 to November 15. The order covers the entire stretch of Cagayan river, including its tributaries, headwaters and watersheds, Abra River and its tributaries extending to Santa River in Ilocos Sur and the Cordillera Region.
By establishing the fishing ban, BFAR has affirmed its commitment to protect and conserve the country’s native fish species in which Ludong is included.
“The public has since known Ludong as a delectable fish only the rich could afford because of its stiff market price. What we aim for through the implementation of this closed season is to increase Ludong’s population and lessen its high price,” BFAR national director Asis G. Perez said.
During the launching ceremony yesterday, fisherfolk groups, local government units (LGUs) and partner government agencies in Cagayan expressed their support for the Ludong closed season.
Eddiemar Creila, a fisherfolk representative from Lal-lo, Cagayan, said they understand that the BFAR has to implement the closed season in order to conserve Ludong. Adding that, the move will also be beneficial for them in the long run because their catch will also increase.
BFAR Region 2 Director Jovita P. Ayson said that the agency will be bringing down alternate livelihood projects to the fisherfolk to mitigate the effects of the closed season to their livelihood.
After the launching ceremony, BFAR in collaboration with the Philippine Coast Guard, deployed eight (8) multi-mission boats to monitor and patrol the area. According to the new regulation, violators will be penalized with imprisonment of six months to one year and /or fine of P6, 000.00 and forfeiture of catch and fishing gadgets. If the offense involves catching of spawning Ludong during the closed season, a penalty of six months and one day to eight years imprisonment and/or fine of P80, 000 shall be imposed. Exporters of spawning Ludong will also be penalized with eight years imprisonment, confiscation of catch and a fine equivalent to double the value of the same.
Perez, however, said that BFAR will prioritize prevention of violations through massive education campaign rather than apprehension of violators.