The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-6 Director, Drusila Bayate, said the portion of the Visayan Sea known for its abundant supply of sardines, mackerel and herrings is found in Western Visayas.
BFAR made the call to canneries as it opened the Visayan Sea to fishing on 20 March. Fishing of larvae and fry was banned from November 2012 to 15 March, 2013. This ban is imposed yearly.
“That was the reason why we placed the Visayan Sea under closed season, to protect and conserve our marine resources,” Ms Bayate said.
She said sardines is a big industry, considered as the food of regular wage earners because of its affordability.
Ms Bayate said BFAR is encouraging fishermen to consider value adding their fish catch so that they can earn more.
In 2011, as per BFAR records, there were about 3,000-4,000 metric tons production in Western Visayas.
Meanwhile, Ms Bayate said there are now canneries in Negros Occidental and there is the Asia Pacific Marine, Inc. in Panit-an, Capiz, which employs about 200 people.
“We need more to invest here in Iloilo City or anywhere in the region,” Ms Bayate said.