1st fish stock assessment aims to help Siquijor fisherfolks
by Elline Caņares
Province of Siquijor (27 May) -- Fishing is one of the primary sources of livelihood for coastal communities in the province and the decline of fish catch among fishers has been a major concern.
In response, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) here, is currently conducting the first fish stock assessment (FSA) research that aims to enhance the food security in the province. The research will help determine the status of fish stocks in the Siquijor marine waters.
The objectives of the study are: to determine the monthly catch composition of small pelagic and demersal fishes; compare the municipal marine catch per unit effort (or CPUE) and fish production; and to determine the seasonal occurrence of target pelagic and demersal fishes at different stages of maturity.
As part of the study, trained enumerators will be monitoring the landed catch at different landing sites of each municipality for 20 days in a month. The Fisheries Technician of each LGU will also look into the biological parameters of targeted species by determining the sex and maturity stages of the fish.
Siquijor State College (SSC) is tasked to lead this project with technical support from the Mindanao State University (MSU).
By the end of the year, expected outputs are; to generate a baseline data reflecting the fish stock status in the Island; foster awareness among community resource users for fisheries conservation; encourage local legislators and leaders to formulate sound policies for fisheries conservation; update resource maps and data on fisheries and fishing gear; and enhance support for conservation efforts among stakeholders in the public and private sectors.
Initial activities for the research began with the training of representatives from the six municipalities, SSC Research and Extension Office, BFAR, and Office of the Provincial Agriculturist conducted by the experts from Mindanao State University at Naawan (MSU- Naawan).
This project is funded by the Provincial Government of Siquijor, the Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation, Inc., LGUs and BFAR.
This was organized and initiated by the Siquijor Provincial Government and the Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation in August of 2009. This training was also the first milestone of the study wherein the official Fish Stock Assessment (FSA) proposal was submitted to the Office of the Governor for final approval.
Governor Orlando "Shane" Fua Jr. and the Sagguniang Panlalawigan members approved the Siquijor Environmental Code of 2009 which specifies the management of the fishery resources of the province through fishing gear regulations and to have a close and open fishing seasons of certain fish species in the island.
The Environmental Code will serve as the legal basis for conducting the Fish Stock Assessment to generate baseline data on the stock status of the small pelagic and demersal species of fish. The results of the assessment will then be the scientific basis for the implementation of the closed and open fishing seasons of targeted fish species.
Currently, the island has 33 identified major fish landing sites where fish catch in the province will be monitored.
The FSA and the corresponding budget allocation by the Provincial Government is an instrumental step in implementing the Siquijor Environmental Code. (CCEF/Darell Pasco, OPA/PIA-Siquijor) [top]