Crackdown vs. illegal fishing reduces fish production in E. Visayas
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines – Fish production in Eastern Visayas hit a significant drop in recent months following the region’s crackdown on illegal fishing.
Region 8 Director Juan Albaladejo to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said authorities already arrested a total of 1,907 individuals in its 487 anti-illegal fishing operations from September 2017 to June 2018.
He added that about 95% of commercial fishing vessels in the region were illegal.
Since they started to intensify their campaign against undocumented and unreported fishing, fish production in the region dropped by 49% in the municipal waters of Eastern Visayas.
“Noong maghigpit tayo malaki ang fines na between P500,000 to about P3 million. Kung foreign vessel from $50,000 to about $100,000. So pagkahigpit, lahat sila nag lay low. Marami rin kaming nahuli,” said Albaladejo.
Meanwhile, the agency is planning to implement a close season in Samar sea from April to July next year once they have finalized the discussion with fisherfolk organizations on the matter.
“We want to make our municipal fisheries more efficient. Unang una restore the population of fish to the areas. Hopefully ang ating fisherman instead of getting 1 to 2 kilos for 2 to 3 hours na fishing magiging good na kung maka 10 to 20 kilos per fishing effort nila,” the official said.
Director Albaladejo added that they plan to boost shellfish production in areas to be affected by the close fishing season as an alternative source of income to fishers. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Archyl Egano)
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