Fishing ban eyed to save the Philippines’ endangered ‘tawilis’
Marje Pelayo • January 28, 2019 • 3393
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) together with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) are planning to enforce a fishing ban to save the dwindling supply of Sardinella tawilis, the only freshwater sardine exclusively found in the Philippines.
“Hindi po natin papayagan na tuluyang maglaho ang lahing tawilis na isda so magkakaroon po ng close season ang atin pong lake para masiguro lang natin na magkaroon ng breeding time yung mga tawilis,” explained DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda.
“Nagkataon na ang tawilis is endemic sa Taal Lake. Ibig sabihin doon lang siya nakikita sa buong mundo,” said Dr. Mudjekeewis Santos of the National Fisheries Research & Development Institute, BFAR’s main research arm.
“Pwede mo siyang sabihing ‘endangered’ kasi ang liit ng kaniyang ginagalawan. Ang problema may threat sa Taal Lake, kasama na diyan ang invasive species, pollution, at fishing so kaya pumasok siya as endangered,” he added.
Nature conservationist group the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recently declared ‘tawilis’ as an endangered species citing major threats such as “overexploitation, pollution, habitat degradation and competition from species introduced for aquaculture.”
‘Tawilis’ are produced in the waters of Taal Lake in Batangas, the only place where the species breeds in the wild.
However, the lake is too small for breeding thus the overpopulation of the fish supply. Likewise, the lake is subject to threats of pollution from unmanaged tourism, domestic waste, and aquaculture feeds, according to IUCN’s red list.
The group also noted an increase in competition for ‘tawilis’ supply which leads to over fishing since its demand for commercial trade is on an uptrend.
Stakeholders around Taal Lake expressed concern over the proposed fishing ban since the popular ‘tawilis’ is considered a ‘best seller’ in their place.
“Best seller talaga namin ang tawilis dito sa Tagaytay,” said food stall owner Mary Ann Calinisan.
“Actually, kapag po maraming tao, ubos po talaga siya. Sa ngayon, hindi pa po namin alam kung ano ang ipapalit namin sa tawilis,” added Angelica Gutierrez whose store’s main menu is a tawilis dish.
“Dito po lamang nakukuha ang aming ikinabubuhay na pambili ng bigas at saka pagpapaaral sa mga batang nag aaral,” laments tawilis vendor Rafaela Marasigan.
Fisherfolks in the area appeal to the authorities to reconsider the plan to ban fishing of tawilis as it will impact much on their income.
“Huwag naman pagbawalan dahil iyon ang hanap buhay namin dito,” appealed fisherman Tirso Grifon.
The IUCN in its report noted that the population of tawilis marked a significant decline by about 49% since 1998 with supply ”heavily exploited” from 2008 to 2009. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Benedict Samson)
BATANGAS, Philippines – An estimated 2,000 kilograms of dead ‘tawilis’ floated on waters of a lakeshore town of Cuenca in Batangas on Saturday (February 2).
Residents feasted and got as much tawilis as they could even though some were already dead.
According to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), it was caused by algal bloom.
“Nagkaroon ng algal bloom so iyon po naapektuhan iyong tawilis kaya nanabi iyong mga tawilis,” explained BFAR 4A Regional Director
Cruz clarified, however, that it is not harmful to eat dead tawilis if it is still fresh.
“Puwede naman po iyon. Ang cause naman iyong algal bloom,” Cruz said.
“Hindi naman (masama) sa tao iyon. Basta iyong bagong huli lang po. Bagong patay na syempre kung matagal na siya, hindi puwede kainin kasi matagal na siyang patay,” he added.
It is during the months of April and May that thousands of tawilis would float on the surface of Taal Lake, but this time, residents are barred from harvesting them.
Starting next week, the closed fishing season for tawilis will commence to give way for the reproduction of the only freshwater sardines in the world exclusive only to the Philippines. — Marje Pelayo (with reports from Sherwin Culubong).
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – The three-month fishing ban in the entire Zamboanga Peninsula will begin on Saturday (December 1).
According to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), the ban covers, in particular, a variety of sardines such as the local tamban, tunsoy, haul haul, tabagak, and balantiyog among others.
The agency said the ban will provide the fish ample time to breed.
“Mabigyan din natin ng chance na makapahinga yung dagat at saka yung small pelagic fishes natin which is very critical,” explained Roger Castro, the Regional Director of Zamboanga Fisherfolk Association.
The use of fishnets is also not allowed such as the purse seine, ringnet, bagnet and scoop net.
Violators of small-scale commercial fishing will face a fine of P50,000 to P100,000 but those who will violate provisions of the large-scale commercial fishing will face a fine of P1-M to P5-M.
The BFAR, however, clarified that boat fishing or using small bancas are allowed which, according to local fisherfolks, will at least help them in their daily consumption.
Meanwhile, the BFAR assured to provide aid for affected fisherfolks on the duration of the fishing ban.
This includes livelihood training for alternative sources of income during the three-month period.
“Iyong maibibigay na tulong doon sa mga (maaapektuhan) maraming mga agency din ang kasama namin mayroong DOST, DSWD mga agency na tumutulong dyan kahit yung mga malalaking kumpanya na sa fishing nila may mga tao rin silang tutulungan,” Pedling Munap of BFAR Region 9 concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Dante Amento)
Fisherman riding banca, manuever on a hot sunny day on the waters of Mactan Channel, Philippines on November 16,2012. Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Region 7 says, the fishing ban of sardines and mackerels in the Visayan sea from November 15 to March 15,2012 will not affect the small scale fishing industry in the region. (UNTV / PHOTOVILLE International / Naomi Sorianosos)
MANILA, Philippines – Mas pinalawak pa ng Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) ang mga lugar kung saan ipagbabawal ang panghuhuli ng mga isdang ginagawang sardinas.
Nitong Nobyembre 15 ay pinasimulan na ng BFAR ang fishing ban sa Visayan seas kabilang ang karagatang nasasakop ng Bicol, Western, Central at Eastern Visayas.
Masasakop din ng fishing ban ang baybayin ng Madridejos sa Cebu, Negros Oriental at Capiz na napag-alaman na nagkakaroon ng overfishing.
Ayon kay BFAR Director Asis Perez, nagkaroon ng malaking pagbaba sa bilang ng mga isda sa Visayan sea sa nakalipas na anim na dekada.
“We intent to implement yung ating 4168 it’s a close season for Visayan sea. Dahil di ba nagkaroon tayo ng close season sa Zamboanga at napaka-successful noon at gusto natin ituloy-tuloy at i-expand pa yung area of operation.”
Ayon sa BFAR, positibo ang naging resulta ng ginawang fishing ban noong nakaraang taon sa Zamboanga Penninsula dahil nabigyan ng sapat na panahon ang mga isda para lumaki at dumami.
Tumaas rin ng 76 porsiyento ang produksyon ng sardinas sa 2nd quarter ng 2012 kung saan umabot sa mahigit sa 72,000 metric tons ang nahuling isda ayon naman sa Department of Agriculture (DAR).
Nilinaw naman ng BFAR na maaari pa ring mangisda sa mga nasabing lugar dahil tanging isdang ginagawang sardinas lamang gaya ng tunsoy, tamban at tulis ang bawal hulihin sa panahon ng fishing ban.
Bubuo ang BFAR ng isang Visayan sea squadron para ipatupad ang naturang fishing ban. May nakalaan namang parusa sa sinomang mapapatunayang lumabag sa fishing ban. (Mon Jocson & Ruth Navales, UNTV News)
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