Fish production improves but corals are dying – BFAR

Marje Pelayo   •   July 10, 2019   •   1319

Bleached corals in Coron, Palawan

MANILA, Philippines – Data from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) reported improvements in fish production in the country as compared to the previous years.

In 2018, the country had 4.25 million metric tons of fish which was higher by one percent compared to 2017.

BFAR attributed this positive development to improvements in the country’s aquaculture which increased by three percent from the previous years when fish production was hugely affected by weather disturbances, illegal fishing, water pollution, and stricter implementation of the Fisheries Law.

The disputed waters in the West Philippine Sea contributes 2.34 percent of the country’s total production from provinces in Regions 1, 3, 4A and 4B.

Meanwhile, almost half of the production is contributed by Regions 9, 12 and the Bangsamoro Region, according to BFAR.

Despite this, the Bureau noted that from the 27 thousand hectares of coral areas in the country, only one percent are in good condition.

The agency added that the Philippine government loses P68.5-B every year because of illegal fishing.

Climate change also adds damage to the corals in a phenomenon called coral bleaching.

Sadly, according to BFAR, this phenomenon is expected to persist.

“We will see more coral bleaching. Ibig sabihin yung pagkakamatay ng mga corals dahil tumaas halimbawa yung water temperature o mas na-expose sila ngayon sa sun, (It means the corals are dying because of increasing water temperature as they are more exposed to the heat of the sun),” explained Sammy Malvas, BFAR’s assistant director for admin services.

 Likewise, the agency noted that even the size of fish is now affected.

“Example na lang iyong sardines, maliliit pa naging mature na, (Example sardines, they easily mature but their size remains small), Malvas added.

Doctor Deo Florence Onda of the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute said that the West Philippine Sea should all the more be protected because it has a vital role in the region considering that it is the center of biodiversity in the world.

“Isa lang indikasyon noon, kung maraming pumupuntang fishermen doon sa West Philippine Sea, ibig sabihin marami silang napapakinabangan at marami silang nakukuha, (It indicates one thing: More fishermen fish in West Philippines Sea because it is rich in resources and has a lot of fish), Onda said. – with reports from Rey Pelayo

Warning signals lifted as Tropical Storm Jolina moves towards the West Philippine Sea

Marje Pelayo   •   September 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has lifted all wind signals across the country as Tropical Storm Jolina moves towards the West Philippine Sea.

As of 11:00 a.m. Thursday (September 9), the center of TS Jolina was estimated at 240 km West of Dagupan City, Pangasinan, packed with maximum sustained winds of 85 km/h and gustiness of up to 115 km/h.

It is moving westward at 10 km/h.

PAGASA forecasts that in the next 24 hours, light to moderate with at times heavy rains may be experienced over Palawan, Western Visayas, and Zamboanga Peninsula.

Under these conditions, isolated to widely scattered flooding and rain-induced landslides are still possible especially in areas that are highly or very highly susceptible to these hazards.

Meanwhile, moderate to strong winds associated with the enhanced southwest monsoon will be experienced over the western section of Luzon.

Based on PAGASA’s forecast track, ‘Jolina’ will move generally west northwestward today over the West Philippine Sea and exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) tonight.

However, the tropical storm is seen to re-intensify and may reach a severe tropical storm category within the day, PAGASA said.

Furthermore, the storm may reach typhoon category tomorrow (September 10).

DND refutes reports on Chinese research vessel near Zambales

Robie de Guzman   •   August 13, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of National Defense (DND) on Friday refuted earlier reports that a Chinese vessel has been spotted near the disputed Scarborough Shoal (also called Bajo de Masinloc) in the West Philippine Sea.

In a statement, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the alleged Chinese research ship did not pass through nor enter the country’s area of responsibility.

“Contrary to some published reports regarding the Chinese Research Vessel Hai Da Hao, the AFP Northern Luzon Command has reported that the said vessel has not been spotted near Bajo de Masinloc as alleged,” he said.

“Based on the verification of the one-year historical track of CRV Hai Da Hao, the vessel did not pass through nor did it enter the area of responsibility of Naval Forces Northern Luzon,” he added.

Lorenzana noted that the said ship is currently monitored at 30 nautical miles south of Huidong Xian, Huizhou Shi in China.

The DND chief issued the statement following claims on social media about the alleged presence of a Chinese research ship near the shoal in Zambales.

The report prompted the department to conduct verification on the matter.

Chinese and other foreign vessels have previously been spotted in contested areas in the West Philippine Sea.

The Philippine government has repeatedly filed diplomatic protests on the presence of Chinese ships in Philippine waters.

DND verifying report on alleged presence of a Chinese ship off Zambales

Robie de Guzman   •   August 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of National Defense (DND) on Thursday said it is verifying reports on the alleged presence of a Chinese research ship that was spotted near Panatag Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.

In a statement, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said facts gathered by the maritime patrols in the area will be basis of their next course of action.

“Rest assured that the AFP, through the Northern Luzon Command, undertakes regular domain awareness operations and provides all the necessary support to the Philippine Coast Guard and other agencies to secure and implement our laws in our territorial waters and the EEZ,” he said.

Chinese and other foreign vessels have previously been spotted in contested areas in the West Philippine Sea.

The Philippine government has repeatedly filed diplomatic protests on the presence of Chinese ships in Philippine waters.

 

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