The 101 on Why Highlight Bicol Marine Wealth in a Regional Trade Fair

File photo: A fisherman scours for Krill off the shoreline of San Miguel bay in Calabanga.
The 101 on why there is the need to highlight Bicol marine wealth and biodiversity into the spotlight of a regional trade fair.

The regional office of the Bureau of Fishiries and Aquatic Resources partners with the organizers of the forthcoming regional Bishop Francisco Gainza Trade Fair with its exhibition venue in Naga city. The ten-day trade and business event opens 12th of September, near the Metropolitan Cathedral.

The Bicol region has 94 coastal municipalities with 1,067 barangays along a coastline that measures 3,116.1 kilometers. bordering the region’s four major municipal fishing grounds of San Miguel Bay and Ragay Gulf in Camarines Sur, Lagonoy Gulf in Albay, Sorsogon Bay in Sorsogon and Asid Gulf in Masbate, that totally measure 1,666.28 square kilometers.

From these inland bodies of water emanate highly valuable marine products that make fisheries of paramount importance to regional economy owing to its contribution to trade, livelihood, employment and income of fishersfolk.

The BFAR regional office has recorded about 103,000 fishermen under the municipal fisheries across the region. There are 1,264 licensed fishermen, 139 licensed gears, 250 operators and 389 fishing vessels in the commercial fisheries of Bicol.

Given these facts, the Aqua Fair comes with the trade fair as a joint endeavor geared towards alleviating poverty through entrepreneurship and solidarity that promotes integral development, BFAR regional director Dennis Del Socorro said.

He said fishing in Bicol has been experiencing declining fish catch and higher fishing efforts noted since 1995 when it was observed that 12 out of 15 major commercially important species had been heavily exploited with the use of prohibited fishing methods.

The observed appearance of less preferred species and disappearance of large economically important species, according to Del Socorro, indicates symptoms of ecosystem overfishing — a situation that may even be worse than expected as the population increases without effective gulf-wide management in place.

Tuna and tuna-like fishes — groupers, round scads, coral fishes, siganids, rabbit fish, anchovy, snapper, parrot fish, mackerel, mullet, big-eyed scads, cobia, and sardinella — are the most frequently caught fishes in the region.

Other marine products harvested by gleaning during low tide include sea cucumber, crabs, squids, cuttlefish, octopus and other economically important invertebrate species.

In the aquaculture sector, the most important cultured species in the region are milkfish (Chanos chanos), tilapia (mainly Oreochromis niloticus and their hybrids), tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon), mudcrab (Scylla serrata), green mussel (Perna viridis).

Seaweed farming (Kappaphycus and Eucheuma) is also very popular in most coastal areas.

Minor cultured species include catfish (Clarias gariepinus and C. batrachus) and carps (Cyprinus carpio and Aristhyctis nobilis).

“That’s how rich Bicol marine resources are and the whole region will celebrate this through the Aqua Fair with the BFGTF,” Del Socorro said. (from PNA report)


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