The provincial board has crafted a proposed ordinance that seeks to regulate the collection and trade of spiny lobsters in Palawan, a policy intended to ensure the sustainability of the marine product.

The proposed ordinance prohibits such practices as the gathering of juveniles and the exportation of breeders, spawners, eggs, or fry in accordance with the existing provisions in the fisheries code.

The catching, possession, and trading of juvenile puerulus and gravid spiny lobster (Palinuridae) fries will be prohibited unless it is for aquaculture, research, and academic purposes.

In a recent hearing of the agriculture and aquatic resources committee of the provincial board, board member Albert Rama, its chairperson, noted that lobster gathering has become a major source of livelihood among fishermen in the southern part of the province during the pandemic.

He said the ordinance which he co-authored with board members Ryan Maminta, Leoncio Ola, Juan Antonio Alvarez, and Cesareo Benedito Jr., will not only protect the lobster species but also the welfare of the fishermen who are engaged in the business.

“Noong nakaraang taon walang regulasyon diba, ngayon gagawa tayo ng regulasyon sa buong probinsiya para mapanatili natin ang peace and order, mapakinabangan ng mga mangingisda, proteksiyunan ang mga traders and buyers, at mapanatili natin ang puerulus o spiny lobster dito sa lalawigan sa pamamagitan ng sustenableng kaparaanan,” Maminta said in a statement released by the Provincial Information Office (PIO) on December 5.

Rama’s committee said lobster traders should be accredited by submitting records of the volumes of lobster fries they are collecting and their value.

It was also agreed in the committee hearing to establish a “floor price or minimum buying price” for each lobster fry to ensure that fishermen will earn from the livelihood activity.

“Batay sa panukalang ordinansa, ipinagbabawal sa sinumang indibidwal, asosasyon, kooperatiba, partnership, o korporasyon ang pangunguha at pagbebenta ng gravid at juvenile spiny lobsters batay sa Fishery Administrative Order No. 265, series of 2020. Ganoon din ang exportation ng wild-sourced puerulus ng spiny lobster at ang exportation ng spiny lobster’s breeders, spawners, eggs, or fry batay sa probisyon ng Section 104 ng amended Fisheries Code,” the statement added.

The proposed ordinance is now under review of the Office of the Provincial Agriculture (OPA) while recommendations are being sought from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

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