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A significant increase of round scads locally known as galunggong in Northeastern Palawan was observed four years of implementing the closed fishing season of galunggong.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said that an indication of stock recovery for galunggong was observed since the implementation of the closed fishing season.
“Based on NSAP MIMAROPA and Western Visayas Data, an increasing trend on the annual catch of galunggong from 2016-2019 was observed in the management area. An increase in the maturity size from 17.85 cm (2015-2016) to 18.74 cm (2018-2019) was also recorded. Likewise, an increasing catch trend of large pelagics (such as yellowfin tuna, bigeye tuna, marlins, and mackerels) from 2016 to 2018 was observed,” BFAR said in a press release.
Assistant Regional Director Roberto Abrera said that the direct effect of the closed fishing season was the increase in catch of high-value carnivore fish species such as Tuna and Mackerel in the area due to the availability of food for the high-value fishes.
He explained that the tuna are highly migratory and thrive where there are plenty of food like small pelagic fishes.
Reports from Law Enforcement Sub-group also show high compliance and support from the industry as evidenced by the decreased number of boats monitored in the management area, from 828 boats in 2015-2016, to only 221 boats in 2018-2019.
On the other hand, the Livelihood Sub-Group reported that government assistance amounting to P5M was provided to a total of 1,302 affected fisherfolks in Cuyo, Roxas, Araceli, and Dumaran.
The BFAR and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) announced last October 29, that the 5th year of the implementation of closing fishing season for galunggong in waters of Northeastern Palawan started on November 1, 2019 until January 31, 2020, therefore prohibiting commercial fishing activities within the area.
The regulation, imposed by BFAR in coordination with local stakeholders in the past four years, involved the prohibition of the catching of round scads in order to allow the fish population to recover.
This management plan is sustained by BFAR, DILG, and the city civil society and stakeholders. Other stakeholders were WWF-Philippines, an NGO, government agencies and local government offices.
Bulk of the supply or about 90 percent of galunggong in Metro Manila comes from Palawan, Abrera said.