The Visayan Sea “closed season” has begun on November 15, until February 15, 2021.
This means that catching and selling of sardines, herrings, and mackerels in the area are prohibited, as stipulated in the Fisheries Administrative Order (FAO) 167-3 series of 2013, which provides for the legal basis in enforcing a spatial and temporal closure in the portion of the Visayan Sea.
The closed season reiterates the conservation of sardines, herrings, mackerels in the area.
The Visayan Sea as a vast fishing ground is surrounded by the 33 cities and municipalities of the provinces of Capiz, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Cebu, and Masbate,
Areas in Western Visayas covered by the closure include Barotac Nuevo, Anilao, Banate, Barotac Viejo, Ajuy, Concepcion, San Dionisio, Batad, Estancia, Balasan, and Carles in Iloilo; Roxas City, Pilar, Pontevedra, President Roxas, and Panay in Capiz; and EB Magalona, Victorias City, Manapla, Sagay City, Cadiz City, and Escalante City in Negros Occidental.
Bantayan Island in Central Visayas was also covered by the closed season.
Remia Aparri, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Western Visayas director, said the agriculture and fisheries proved to be the most important sector during the pandemic and natural disasters, adding, “these sectors provided and keeps providing us our primary need – food.”
She added that the Visayan Sea, as a vital resource, is home to hectares upon hectares of corals, mangroves, seagrasses, and marine protected areas. But it is also vulnerable and threatened by cases of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and increasing marine debris.
As citizens, we have to take part in looking after the sea as it takes a rest through the closed season.
However, it is unfortunate for the small fisherfolk who rely on the sea for their daily sustenance. They would have to find an alternative livelihood, for the meantime, just to get through for three months.*