Closed fishing season starts today in Visayan Sea

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AN INTERAGENCY enforcement team has been reactivated to guard the Visayan Sea for three months, with the annual closed fishing season taking effect today, Nov. 15. The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR)-Region 7 convened on Monday the officials and representatives of concerned agencies to discuss matters in improving surveillance in the Visayan Sea to deter all forms of fishing. “We called for a meeting with all stakeholders to map out the seaborne patrol scheme and harmonize our command,” said BFAR-7 Director Dr. Allan P. Poquita. The enforcement team is composed of members of the BFAR-7 Enforcement Unit; Philippine National Police-Maritime Unit; Philippine Coast Guard-District Central Visayas; and the Philippine Navy. The closed season is prescribed under Fishery Administrative Order 167-3. Mr. Poquita said the policy is based on scientific research that identifies the three-month period as the spawning season of three marine species — sardines, herrings, and mackerels — which are found in the Visayan Sea, considered as one of the country’s major fishing grounds. The Visayan Sea is surrounded by Cebu on the southeast, Negros on the south, Panay on the west, and Masbate on the north. Violators of the closed season may be imprisoned for six months to six years, face a fine of up to P6,000, and lose their fishing license. — The Freeman