BFAR: Closed fishing season for ‘galunggong’ starts to bear fruit


The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) on Wednesday announced that the three-month closed fishing season for galunggong in Northern Palawan has started to rejuvenate fish stocks in the area.

The BFAR, an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture, said the closed fishing season started last November 1 and will last until January 31.

Under the closed fishing season rules, the use of purse seine, ring net and bag net in catching roundscad (galunggong) within the conservation area of northeast of Palawan are prohibited, according to BFAR.

“Serving as a conservation measure, this policy is aimed towards protecting the species during its peak spawning season, and further addressing overfishing, climate change, among other concerns,” it said in a statement.

“Already in its 7th year of implementation, the closed fishing season has continually yielded significant positive results in the increased catch of galunggong in the area.”

Citing government assessment, DA-BFAR said galunggong catch by  purse seine has increased to 434.98 metric tons (MT) in 2020 from 233.07 metric tons in 2015, while those caught by ring net grew to 206.30 MT from 187.02 MT in the same period.

“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,” BFAR National Director Eduardo Gongona said.

“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 following the guidance of Agriculture Secretary William Dar on achieving food security and fostering sustainable growth in the fisheries industry.”

The DA-BFAR said Palawan is one of the major suppliers of galunggong to Metro Manila as it accounts for 95 percent of the galunggong catch landed at Navotas Fish port.

“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.”

Due to the ban on catching galunggong during the period, the price of galunggong and other fish in the market are affected by the decrease in the market supply as most of the fish sold in Metro Manila come from the area.

To address the increase in the price of galunggong, the government is importing fish to augment the supply of locally-caught fish, triggering howls of protest from militant fishermen.

Pamalakaya, for one, insists that flooding the market with imported fish has not helped reduce the cost of fish in the market. The group said it added to the burden of small fishermen as it pulls down the price of local galunggong, which could cut their income.

This prompted the group to ask consumers to boycott imported fish, which they say may be “unsafe” as this may be laced with chemical preservatives unlike the fresh galunggong caught by local fishermen.

Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data showed that galunggong production in Palawan in 2020 rose to 9,033.55 MT from 7,507.03 MT in 2016.

PSA data also indicated that the province’s galunggong output in the first half went up by 6.31 percent to 6482.46 MT from last year’s 6,097.62 MT.

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