Department of Agriculture
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources
July 10, 2012
BFAR celebrates 65th year highlighting programs on conservation and the promotion of sustainable fisheries
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources may have reached what is commonly referred as the retirement year at 65. On the contrary, it continues to strengthen its grip towards the protection of the country’s fisheries and aquatic resources in the heels of the Scarborough stand-off and the challenges brought about by environmental degradation caused by man and that of climate change.
“Slowly but surely, with proper planning and strong collaboration with our various stakeholders we had been winning our small battles,” said BFAR Director Atty. Asis G. Perez during a press conference.
He said that in Western Mindanao for instance, both marginal and commercial fishers are now reporting increases in their sardine catch. “Many of the processors are complaining that the fish are bigger and fatter that they could no longer dry it”, he said. The success was attributed to the industry’s compliance with the 3-month closed season coupled with the government’s strict enforcement of the ban
“Taal Lake is also another case in point. Whereas last year, our fish farmers had lost millions of pesos; this year, there has not been a single case of a major fish kill despite the critical fluctuations in water brought about by the habagat season,” Perez said.
He explained that the early harvesting undertaken by the Taal fish growers, coupled by compliance with good aquaculture practices and the LGU’s strict implementation of the maximum number of fish cages helped a lot in preventing major fish kill situations.
Following the two-year fishing ban of tuna in the so-called pockets 1 and 2 of the high seas or the international waters covered by the Western and Central Pacific Commission (WCPFC), tuna fishers have something to look forward to as catch is expected to rise.
“In the next two months or upon compliance of relevant requirements, at least 36 traditional ice-chilled tuna fishers could start operating in the said Special Management Area,” the BFAR chief said in a report.
As with the sardines, the BFAR had jumpstarted the formulation of the sailfish management plan along with the nine municipal heads of Siargao. Sailfish is one of the important fish caught in the area. Along with the livelihood it provides the municipal fishermen, the presence of this fish in the area could also boost tourism particularly for game fishing enthusiasts.
With an estimated number of six million mangrove propagules or seedlings planted in suitable coastal regions in the country, the on-going aquasilviculture program continues to provide an additional source of income to fisher-families in these areas.
BFAR is currently strengthening its fisheries law enforcement program through the formation of Quick Response Teams (QRT) in all its 16 regions nationwide.
Perez said that the QRT was created to strengthen sea protection efforts by curbing illegal fishing in line with the government’s goal of eradicating the abuse of the country’s marine resources
The QRT are currently undergoing capability training on fisheries protection, law enforcement as well as briefings on other fishery and environmental laws that will equip them to protect the marine resources.
A five-day Aqua Food Fair and Exhibit commenced the celebration last July 2 at the PCA Compound, Elliptical Road in Diliman, Quezon City. Fresh and processed seafood from regions across will be up for sale at reduced prices. Other seafood companies will also participate in the said food fair.
Other activities that will be undertaken on Friday, July 6, include the groundbreaking and time capsule-laying for its own BFAR Building Complex in Visayas Avenue. The building will house the BFAR Central Office, the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute and the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority
In addition, the agency will also sign a Memorandum of Agreement with the PhilPost to feature endangered and/or threatened fish species in their stamp series for the first quarter of next year. This is in line with the bureau’s campaign to promote awareness regarding the state and condition of these species.
Alongside this campaign on endangered fish species is the launching of the “Angry Fish” essay writing contest for high school students and the endangered fish drawing/painting contest for collegiate students. Cash prizes await the winners, with the chance for the artwork to be considered in the postage stamp series.
The Bureau will also launch its Search for 2013 BFAR Honor Awardees to give recognition to its outstanding employees and officials and their significant contributions. ###