The implementation of a closed season for catching round scad (galunggong) in Palawan’s coastal waters has resulted in a robust growth of the fisheries sector and has started to benefit fishermen and coastal communities, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said recently.
MIMAROPA regional fisheries director Elizer Salilig, in a press conference Wednesday, noted certain areas in the province that have reported an increased population of round scad, including Ulugan Bay in Puerto Princesa City and the coastal waters of Quezon and El Nido where the seasonal ban has been practiced.
The regulation, imposed by BFAR in coordination with local stakeholders in the past three years, involved the prohibition of the catching of round scads within a specified period in order to allow the fish population to recover.
The declared closed fishing season for round scad is between November 1 to January 31.
Salilig said they have noted an increase in size and maturity of round scads being caught recently, from an average of 16.4 cm to 19.4 cm, which he said indicates better reproductive capacity of the fish.
The seasonal ban policy was imposed by the Department of Agriculture (DA)-Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) through Joint Administrative Order No. 1 series of 2015 consistent with the Fisheries Code of the Philippines.
Assistant Regional Director Roberto Abrera on Thursday, added that the direct effect of the closed fishing season was the increase in catch of high-value carnivore fish species such as Tuna, Spanish Mackerel or Tanigue, and Malasugue. This, he said, can be attributed to the availability of food for the high-value fishes.
“This is a strong indication that the Closed Fishing Season of galunggong is very successful,” Abrera said.
He said that the tuna are highly migratory and thrive where there are plenty of food like small pelagic fishes. He noted that tuna has started to flourish in Northern Palawan area and Mindoro.
Abrera said that Northern Palawan is among the country’s four major fishery management area. Other areas include Visayan Sea, Davao Gulf, and Zamboanga Peninsula.
“We are feeding Metro Manila. 90% percent of galunggong that landed in Navotas came from Northern Palawan,” he said.