PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan — The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Mimaropa is urging more local vessels and large commercial fleets to catch fish in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) to help meet the country’s fish consumption targets.
Robert Abrera, BFAR assistant regional director, said this would give respite to over-exploited fishing areas and allow certain species of fish to mature and repopulate.
“We are encouraging our fishermen to catch fish in the WPS because it is a less-exploited area so that other fishing grounds can also rest and some fish species can increase in population,” he said.
Abrera said this was the reason BFAR constructed a community fish landing center and the Bottom Up Budgeting (BUB) ice plant project on
Barangay Pag-Asa Island, Kalayaan municipality.
These facilities, he said, were in line with the fisheries poverty reduction initiative of the BFAR.
He added that they are in Kalayaan to provide appropriate post-harvest handling and processing system to reduce losses and increase income.
“I know the facilities are now being used,” Abrera pointed out.
He said local fishermen with about 20 gross tonnage fishing vessels can catch fish in the WPS not only those from Mindoro, Zambales, and
the Panay Islands, and largest industrial fleets from Navotas and Cebu.
Abrera was in the city for the declaration of the closed fishing season for roundscad (galunggong) which is now on its fourth year.