Thursday, October 20, at the Garden Orchid Hotel in Zamboanga City. With the theme “Public-Private Partnership: The Key to Sardines Industry Resiliency,” the two-day Congress organized by the Southern Philippines (SOPHIL) Deep Sea Fishing Association, Inc. featured a series of sardine scientific and industry focus plenary sessions highlighting the sardines industry’s latest updates, technologies and policies implemented, as well as challenges and issues surrounding the sardines industry.

Emphasizing the importance of the imposition of closed fishing season, DA-BFAR IX Regional Director Isidro Velayo Jr. said the achievements of closed fishing season in Zamboanga Peninsula may be the “inspiration and model” for the adoption of the closed fishing season programs in other major fishing grounds in the country.

During the event, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on Attaining Sustainability in the Fisheries for Sardines and Other Small Pelagic Fish off the Zamboanga Peninsula was also inked between the SOPHIL Fishing Association, DA-BFAR Regional Fisheries Office No. IX, University of the Philippines Visayas, Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology, and Jose Rizal Memorial State University.

This MOA has paved the way for the formalization of information sharing agreement between the Research Program and SOPHIL Fishing Association in the industry’s bid to address gaps in information necessary for the strengthening of management of sardines and associated small pelagic stocks off the Zamboanga Peninsula to ensure long term sustainability of the small pelagics fishing industry.