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2000-Plus Tagging Programme to Aid Sustainability

PHILIPPINES - The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Centre (SEAFDEC) are targeting the number coding or tagging of up to 2,400 pieces of small pelagic fish like galunggong, hasa-hasa and tunsoy.

The programme will be carried out in the waters of Palawan and Manila Bay under a joint research program that will help formulate a sustainable management plan to help conserve 50 per cent of the Philippines’ total marine fish catch.

Director Malcolm Sarmiento of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said that ‘tagging’ involves the insertion of special number-coded yellow tags at the base of the dorsal fins of individual fishes.

The fish are then released back into the sea and their tags will hopefully be returned to the nearest fishery agency by the fishermen who catch them.

The scheme will enable marine researchers to determine the migratory path of the species of small pelagic fishes, and the eventual development of a regional management plan to ensure the sustainability of resources.

Small pelagic fishery represents an important resource in many regions of the world. In the Philippines, small pelagic fish such as galunggong, tunsoy, tawiles, hasa-hasa, matangbaka and the like constitute about 50 per cent of the total marine fish catch.

“Studies have shown that small pelagic fishery in Southeast Asian countries bordering the South China Sea, including the Philippines, have been subjected to high levels of exploitation. Hence, there is a need to come up with a management plan for small pelagics,” said Sarmiento.

He said a total of 2,400 pieces of fish belonging to two species of round scads and one species of mackerel will be tagged in the waters of Manila Bay and Palawan in the country to help craft this regional management plan.