The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is considering to expand the “galunggong“ (round scad) management area from the northeastern waters of Palawan to the southern area up to Mindoro Strait as suggested by the scientific community to address its declining production in the country.
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) MIMAROPA assistant regional director said Saturday that the strategy came up from the scientific community during the 1st Galunggong Summit on January 21 as a possible solution to the staple fish’ decreasing reserve.
“Palawan waters provide 90 percent of the galunggong requirement nationwide but we are only implementing the closing season in the northeastern part of the province. Merong suggestion from the scientific community na why not expand the management area for the galunggong sa southern part,” he said.
(There is a suggestion from the scientific community about why not expand the management area for the round scad in the province’s southern part.)
Abrera said the suggestion was made because of findings that the round scad’s spawning areas are in the waters of southern Palawan and the West Philippines Sea, and juveniles have, in fact, been detected in the Mindoro Strait.
Southern Palawan has no fishing season for the round scad, Abrera said, including the Mindoro Strait area.
In case the proposed strategy becomes part of the national management plan, the closed fishing season will vary based on the spawning season of the round scad.
“Kung three months sa northeastern Palawan from November to January, titignan kung kelan naman sa additional areas. Galunggong has been proven to be a part of the food chain now so its declining supply is really a cause for concern (If it’s three months in northeastern Palawan from November to January, then a study will be done on when they’re going to be in the additional areas),” he said.
Abrera added the fishing communities that will be affected by the closed season will be provided with supplemental livelihood by the BFAR.
Meanwhile, the BFAR has opened again the closed fishing season it imposed in November in the waters of northeastern Palawan.
Abrera said it opened on February 1 after three months of closure to allow the fish to repopulate again, explaining that the measure which is now on its fourth year has been helpful in the regeneration of good-sized and mature round scads.
During the summit, agriculture undersecretary and BFAR national director Eduardo Gongona said that due to the decline in galunggong production, the Philippines might not be able to meet the demand for it.
Gongona added that the lack of supply might also affect the small-scale fisherfolk, commercial fishing operators, and other fishery sector stakeholders.
He said around 75 percent of the production of round scad depends on commercial fisheries of which 22 percent go to the fish port in Navotas.