Overfishing hits sardine stocks in Bicol waters, Samar – group
MANILA, Philippines – A marine conservation group recently warned of declining sardine stocks in Bicol and Samar waters due to overfishing and called on the government to speed up implementation of the national management plan sardine.
In a study carried out by Oceana on the conditions of sardine stocks in the fishing zones of Fisheries Management Zone 7 (FMA 7) off Bicol and Samar from February 2020 to March 2021, it was revealed that ” sardine stocks are overexploited “.
The national sardine management plan approved by Secretary of Agriculture William Dar on May 15, 2020, 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.
âMany 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, âsaid Atty. 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 said.
Dr Wilfredo Campos of the University of the Philippines-Visayas, who led the study, warned of the dire consequences of overfishing in FMA 7 fishing areas off Bicol and Samar.
“It is very clear that sardine stocks are overexploited,” he said. “And we must not wait for the limits, the targets are exceeded. In addition to monitoring, we must think of measures to stop a further deterioration of the state of the stock.”
âIn other words, it doesn’t matter who fishes, the total amount taken needs to be regulated. Lagi tayong humihinto doon (We always stop there). All science-based measures are good, but there will be no additional science that can change the situation from overexploited to good. Science is not going to do that.
âScience has already told us na bawasan niyo ang (reduce) fishing, bawasan niyo ang huli (reduce fishing), bawasan niyo ang nae-extract its resource (reduce resource extraction). Science has been telling us this for a long, long time. It is very, very urgent. All stakeholders should really sit down and figure out what are the acceptable measures (which are the acceptable measures), âCampos added.
The Campos recommendations would be covered by the implementation of the National Sardine Management Plan.
Based on Oceana’s assessment, the decrease in the sardine stock was particularly observed in Balatan, Camarines Sur; Pio Duran, Albay; Monreal, Ticao
He said the strong pressure from fishing, as well as environmental changes over time, have contributed to the depletion of sardine resources in the country.
Citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, Oceana said catches of the bali (tamban) and fimbriati (lawlaw / tuloy) sardine species have declined significantly from 442,045.75 metric tonnes in 2010 to 325,226.20 tonnes. metric or 26.4% in 2019.
Oceana said GPS trackers were installed on fishing vessels operating in FMA 7 and allowed the team to monitor fishing activity in the area over time. This method, the group added, led the research team to discover that 60% of the total 60,000 metric tonnes captured in FMA 7 came from the Bulan station.
âMore 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, âCampos said.
Ramos then said: âAs 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 species of sardines to recover,” she added.
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