Photo grabbed from MB Post-ctto

The Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has announced the start of the closed fishing season in Northern Palawan on November 1, 2021. This is to further boost the growing abundance of galunggong in the province.

From November 1 to January 31 of next year, the closed fishing season will prohibit the use of purse seine, ring net, and bag net in catching roundscad (galunggong) within the conservation area of northeast of Palawan.

Serving as a conservation measure, this policy is aimed towards protecting the species during its peak spawning season, and further address overfishing, climate change, among other concerns.

Already in its seventh year of implementation, the closed fishing season has continually yielded significant positive results in the increased catch of galunggong in the area.

Based on the National Stock Assessment Program of the BFAR and the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute, catch estimates of the species caught by purse seine has increased from 233.07 metric tons (MT) in 2015 to 434.98 MT in 2020, while those caught by ring net bumped up from 187.02 MT to 206.30 MT in the same period.

BFAR National Director Eduardo Gongona said that the recorded increase in catch of galunggong in the area has been made possible by the strong cooperation and support of the government, commercial fishers, and other stakeholders in a bid to take care of our country’s fishery resources.

By virtue of DA-DILG Joint Administrative Order No. 1, Series of 2015, BFAR has been working with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and with the support of the fishery sector and other stakeholders through the Technical Working Group on Roundscad Fisheries Management in Palawan.

“We strongly urge our fisheries stakeholders to be one with the government in the implementation of the closed fishing season in Palawan. This measure will help protect the commercially-important galunggong species, ensuring its availability as part of our efforts to achieve food security and fostering sustainable growth in the galunggong industry,” Gongona said in a statement.

Among the provinces, Palawan remains one of the major suppliers of the fish species to the highly urbanized cities of Metro Manila, with 95 percent of galunggong catch landed at the Navotas Fish Port originating from the province.

To further supplement the fish supply while the closed fishing season is in effect, the Bureau will give emphasis to aquaculture products as an alternative, as well as ensuring the availability of fish products in the market through programs such as Oplan ISDA.

Another government measure on this is the importation of 60,000 MT of galunggong to the country until March 2021.