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BFAR's 65th Year Highlights Promotion of Sustainable Fisheries

PHILIPPINES - The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources' (BFAR) 65th year highlights the protection of the countrys fisheries and aquatic resources as set by environmental degradation caused by man and that of climate change.

In a press statement, BFAR Director Atty. Asis G. Perez said that planning and collaboration with stakeholders will help in this task.

He noted that in Western Mindanao for instance, both marginal and commercial fishers are reporting increases in their sardine catch. He said that the success was attributed to the industrys compliance with the three-month closed season along with the governments strict enforcement of the ban.

Taal Lake is also another case in point. Whereas last year, our fish farmers had lost millions of pesos; this year, there has not been a single case of a major fisk kill despite the critical fluctuations in water brought about by the habagat season, Mr Perez said.

He also said that tuna fishers have something to look forward to as catch is expected to rise after the two-year fishing ban of tuna in the so-called pockets one and two of the high seas or those covered by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission.

The ongoing aquasilviculture programme also continues to provide an additional source of income to fisher-families in these areas, Mr Perez said, more so after an estimated number of six million mangrove propagules or seedlings planted in the coastal regions.

Perez said that the BFAR is currently strengthening its fisheries law enforcement program through the formation of Quick Response Teams (QRT) in all its 16 regions nationwide, which was created "to strengthen sea protection efforts by curbing illegal fishing in line with the governments goal of eradicating the abuse of the countrys marine resources."

In celebration of BFAR's anniversary, a five-day Aqua Food Fair and Exhibit was set last July 2 at the PCA Compound in Quezon City. The fair will showcase fresh and processed seafood from regions; other seafood companies will also be in the said fair.

The groundbreaking and time capsule-laying for its own BFAR Building Complex in Visayas Avenue was held yesterday, July 6. This building will be the establishment set for the BFAR Central Office, the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute and the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority.

A stamp series featuring endangered and/or threatened fish species will be set in a memorandum of agreement with PhilPost, in line with the bureaus campaign to promote awareness regarding the condition of these species.

The bureau will also launch the Angry Fish essay writing contest for high school students, and the endangered fish drawing/painting contest for collegiate students. In recognition to its outstanding employees and their significant contributions, BFAR will also set the Search for 2013 BFAR Honor Awardees.

Lucy Towers

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