Fishing has been banned for 3 months in the Visayan Sea, giving the sea an opportunity to heal and its fish population, mostly sardines and herring, time to reproduce.
A three-month fishing moratorium has been imposed in the Visayan Sea to counter the severe decline in fish population attributed to the persistent issue of overfishing. The ban on fishing starts on Nov. 15, 2023, and will be lifted on Feb. 15, 2024.
The Visayan Sea is a major fishing ground for sardines, mackerel, and herring in the Philippines. The sea covers an area of roughly 10,000 square kilometers with 22 municipalities along its coastlines.
Visayan Sea is bounded by the islands of Masbate in the north, Panay to the west, Leyte to the east, and Cebu and Negros to the south. Twenty percent of all sardines in the Philippines are caught in this very important sea.
With the fishing ban, a crucial and commendable step has been taken to protect the invaluable marine biodiversity of the Visayan Sea. This move bans the fishing, sale, and purchase of specific fish species and sends a resounding message on the urgency of safeguarding our seas and oceans for future generations.
The species under protection are the following:
* Bali Sardine (Sardinella lemuru, locally known as tamban, tunsoy or haul-haul)
* Short-bodied Mackerel (Rastrelliger brachysoma, known as hasa-hasa)
* Goldstripe Sardine (Sardinella gibbosa, known as halobaybay, tamban, lapad, tamban lison or lapa)
* Indian Mackerel (Rastrelliger kanagurta, known as bulao or alumahan)
* Fimbriated Sardina (Sardinella fimbriata, known as tunsoy, lao-lao, tabagak, tamban or liryan)
* Rainbow Sardine (Dussumieria acuta, known as tulis, balantiyong or hilos-hilos)
The Visayan Sea, known for its rich marine biodiversity, has long been a vital resource for fisherfolk and a treasure trove of diverse aquatic life. However, the relentless exploitation of these waters has taken a toll on the once-abundant fish population. The introduction of this moratorium is a recognition of the need to allow the sea to rejuvenate and restore its ecological balance.
Overfishing is not a localized issue but a global concern that demands immediate and concerted action. The decision to implement a fishing moratorium reflects a responsible and forward-thinking approach by acknowledging the undeniable impact of human activities on marine ecosystems. By temporarily halting fishing activities in specific areas, authorities protect fisherfolk's livelihoods and ensure the marine environment's sustainability for future generations.
The moratorium is not merely a restriction; it is an investment in the long-term health of the Visayan Sea. It provides a breathing space for fish stocks to recover, habitats to regenerate, and marine species to thrive once again.
While the short-term economic impact on fisherfolk is undeniable, the moratorium is a necessary sacrifice for a more sustainable future. Collaborative efforts between local communities, fisheries management organizations, and governmental bodies are crucial during this period to ensure that support systems are in place for those directly affected by the temporary cessation of fishing activities. By focusing on alternative livelihoods, education, and resource management, we can transform this challenging period into an opportunity for positive, long-term change.
This fishing moratorium in the Visayan Sea is an inspiring example for other regions facing similar challenges. It underscores the importance of adopting and implementing sustainable fishing practices worldwide. It's a reminder that our oceans are not an endless resource and that thoughtful, science-based conservation measures are essential for the well-being of marine ecosystems and the communities that depend on them.
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