Governors, BFAR designate Visayan Sea fishery management area

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A COVENANT was signed over the weekend among governors in the Visayas and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) for the conservation, protection, and restoration of the Visayan Sea. The parties agreed to collaborate and cooperate in the declaration of the “Visayan Sea Fishery Management Area” with coordinates 11° to 12°N, 123° to 124°E covering an area of about 10,000 square kilometers. The signatories to the agreement were Governors Arthur D. Defensor, Sr. of Iloilo and Alfredo G. Marañon, Jr. of Negros Occidental; a representative of Governor Hilario P. Davide III of Cebu; and BFAR Director Eduardo B. Gongona. Governor Antonio T. Kho of the island province of Masbate was absent in the meeting held July 22 in Sicogon Island. Under the agreement, a management framework will be adopted, which will be the basis of a joint management plan to be formulated by each province. The parties will also contribute and share resources such as funds, expert personnel and facilities, technical information, and research materials. A Management Council that will serve as the policy-making body will be constituted, composed of representatives from each province and the regional directors of BFAR Regions 5, 6, and 7. “Action plans with specific timeline have been crafted and agreed on,” said Iloilo Provincial Administrator Raul N. Banias. — Louine Hope U. Conserva

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