BUTUAN CITY – The sufficiency level of the fishery resources in the Caraga Region is now placed at 80 percent rate, based on this year’s study made through the National Stock Assessment Program (NSAP) of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in the Caraga Region (BFAR-13).
“This study is conducted during the early part of every year. This is a yearly program of BFAR,” BFAR-13 Director Visa Tan-Dimerin told the Philippine News Agency Tuesday (May 12).
Dimerin said the survey focused only on fish landings of captured fisheries or catches of fishermen and does not include the aquaculture sector.
The latest assessments, done by NSAP enumerators in 57 landing centers, covered the major fishing grounds in Caraga Region that include the Surigao Strait, Dinagat Sound, Hinatuan Passage, part of the Philippine Sea, Bohol Sea, East Siargao Waters, Surigao Sea, Lanuza Bay, Hinatuan Bay, Bislig Bay, and the Butuan Bay.
“Over the last two to three years, the sufficiency level in Caraga Region is registered within 77, 78 to 80 percent. Increases are recorded at one to two percentages only,” Dimerin said.
She explained that any deficiency in fishery resources in Caraga Region is somehow undetected by residents because of the presence of food substitutes such as pork, beef, and chicken.
“One cannot say that we have insufficient supplies of fish. When you go to the market we can see displays of fishes,” Dimerin said, adding that fish products from other regions are also sold in Caraga markets.
“Our sufficiency level is going down. Almost all fishing grounds in the Philippines are already on its critical stage," she warned.
"With the steady growth in the number of population in the country coupled with the upsurge of the fishing efforts or activities, we already face the dwindling of stocks of fishes in our seas, particularly in near-shore fishing grounds or traditional fishing grounds, except those migratory fishes that are found in deep-sea areas,” she added.
Climate change, pandemic
Dimerin said the NSAP assessment results are submitted to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and will serve as basis for policies and guidelines to be issued by the Department of Agriculture (DA) on the fishery sector.
Dimerin said climate change is also affecting the volume of fish captures and landings of fishermen in the Caraga Region and in the entire Philippines.
“The pandemic that threatens us, the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19), also affected the supplies of fish in markets due to the reduced operations of fishing vessels,” she added.
Dimerin said all forms of illegal fishing are also considered as factors that contribute to the decrease of sufficiency level of fish resources in the country and the region.
She also took note of the efforts of local government units (LGUs) in Caraga in fighting illegal fishing activities.
Dimerin said among the recommendations BFAR-13 has made to DA based on this year’s NSAP is to strengthen the aquaculture sector in the region.
The recommendation also considers the support to fishpond and fish cage developments in the area, she added. (PNA)
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