Solon wants to probe the impact of the fishing ban in Visayan sea

MORE than 100,000 fishermen in Western, Central and Eastern Visayas are suffering from the effect of a 5-month fishing ban being imposed by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

“The fishing ban will not only spell poverty and further economic dislocation but will also affect the fish supply and food needs of domestic consumers in many parts of the country, including Metro Manila,” said Rep. Rafael Mariano (Party-list, Anakpawis).

Mariano filed House Resolution 2925 urging the House Committee on Aquaculture and Fisheries Resources to conduct an inquiry on the impact of the fishing ban, which covers the waters of Masbate, and the Western, Central and Eastern Visayas regions.

The ban, which started on November 15 and will end in March 2013, will increase the production of mackerel and sardines in the Visayas by 20 percent, according to BFAR National Director Asis Perez.

BFAR said the fishing ban will start from the mouth of the Danao River on the northeastern tip of the Bantayan island to the Madridejos, through the light house on the Gigantes Island to Clutaya Island, to Culasi Point in Capiz Province, coastward along the eastern coast of Iloilo to the mouth of the Talisay River, westward across Guimaras Strait to Tomonton Point in Occidental Negros, eastward along the northern coast of the Island of Negros and back to the mouth of Danao River in Escalante Negros Occidental.

“Based on the initial study conducted by fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), and the Fisheries and Marine Environmental Research Institute (FMERI), the fish ban in Visayan Seas will exacerbate the current economic hardship being suffered by the small fishermen,” Mariano said.

Aside from the effect on the small fishermen and their families, the National Statistical and Coordination Board (NSCB) report on the Philippine poverty, said that the most impoverished sector in the country are the small fisherfolk and many of them can be found along the coastal waters surrounding or linking the island provinces of the Visayas.

Mariano said the production of sardines and mackerel and other fish species will be reduced by 25 percent because of the fish ban.

Mariano said the fish production in Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental will be reduced by 87.500 metric tons while fish catch in Negros Oriental, Bohol, Cebu and Siquijor will be reduced to 50,000 metric tons.

“The fish catch in the provinces Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar, Western Samar and Southern Leyte will be cut by 25,000 metric tons as a result of the fish ban,” Mariano said.

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