The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) is set to revive the annual seasonal control for leopard trout (suno) in the province every November to March starting this year.

PCSD spokesperson Jovic Fabello said Friday this was decided during the 256th council meeting.

“Actually, ito ay [sa] live fish, but particularly nakatuon ito sa suno lang. Titingnan natin ngayon ‘yong full cycle implementation, itong open and close season. Kasi during the past binabaan namin ‘yong seasonal control, hindi siya na-implement ng full cycle kasi pag- implement pa lang marami ng oposisyon so parang nag-run lang ng mga three to four months tapos nagkaroon na naman ng pag-uusap,” said Fabello.

Fabello said the “close and open season” for the reef-fish-for-food (RFF) was suspended in December 2017 due to the clamor of stakeholders regarding PCSD’s alleged lack of study of the matter.

He said PCSD then commissioned the Western Philippines University (WPU) to conduct a study on the “socio-economic” impact of the seasonal control.

Fabello said this is to weigh the socio-economic cost of the decision to the lives of the suno-catchers.

“Of course, it reflects din sa traders, pero ang traders kasi hindi sila masyadong affected dito. Ang affected dito talaga ‘yong catchers,” said Fabello.

Fabello said the study revealed that the level of income of the catchers during the open and closed seasons has no significant discrepancy.

On that note, Fabello said the council decided to re-implement the seasonal control on RFF.

“With the conclusion na kung hindi naman ganoon ‘yong effect na ‘pag nag-close season tayo, kasi kino-contest nila na kapag close season wala silang kabuhayan, wala silang kita, magugutom sila, eh hindi naman pala ganoon in reality based doon sa study na kinonduct ng WPU,” he said.

Fabello said the provincial and local government units (LGUs) are supposed to provide alternative livelihood opportunities to their suno catcher constituents during the close season, as it is their call.

Background: Seasonal control is one of the key provisions of the PCSD Administrative Order No. 05, series of 2014 or the policy that would ensure the sustainability of the province’s lucrative but now threatened industry.

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