Department of Agriculture
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources
29 May 2013
DA-BFAR BARES SUPPORT FOR THE COUNTRY'S NEW FISHING GROUND
Manila, Philippines - The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources of the Department of Agriculture is announcing fishery development support on the newly-established fishing ground east of Luzon where the Benham Plateau, more commonly known as “Benham Rise” is located.
Benham Rise is a 13-million hectare under the sea region with the shallowest portion at 35 meters off the provinces of Isabela and Aurora. It has only been recently confirmed by the United Nations as part of the Philippine territory on April 12, 2012. The area is marine biodiversity-rich and is home to high-value fish species such as blue-fin tuna and black and white marlin. The area also teems with round scad or galunggong.
Recognizing the vast potential for fishery productivity in the area, the said fishing ground is among the priority areas under the National Payao Program of BFAR. This program which establishes the so-called “payao-belt” in waters that are yet to be utilized aims to install 600 units of payaos or fish aggregating device (FAD) nationwide.
Director Asis G. Perez of BFAR bared that in the waters of Quezon province alone, a total of 49 units of payao are currently being deployed. Another 66 units of offshore payao will be deployed in Benham Rise. At least seven commercial fishing vessels (ring netters) have signified interest to start fishing operations in the areas.
“The deployment of these payao will provide our fishers with marked spots where prime class of fish species congregates. This will help them avoid waste fuel loitering in the sea in search for good catch,” Director Perez said.
In anticipation of the abundant fishery production from Benham Rise, Director Perez announced several future government interventions. One would be the establishment of post-harvest facilities and equipment such as blast freezers and refer vans in strategic fish landing areas in the provinces of Quezon and Aurora. Another will be the deployment of carrier vessels which will transport the fishermen’s catch to the mainland so that fishing vessels need not leave the area.
Perez said that fishing operations of the initial seven commercial fishing vessels could yield an estimated 70 metric tons of fish catch per fishing operation. At the least, each ring netter could conduct at least 2 fishing operations per month. Moreover, each ring netter could provide employment to at least 30 fishermen.
To ensure that the fishing ground is safeguarded from poachers and illegal fishers, BFAR’s multi-mission vessel will take charge of the regular monitoring and surveillance. The same vessel will also be used for quick response and rescue operations during emergencies.
Simultaneous with the implementation of various interventions geared towards the fishery development in Benham Rise, M/V DA-BFAR, the government research vessel, is presently deployed in the area to conduct scientific studies which will determine the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) of the new and promising fishing ground for Filipino fishermen.
ATTY. ASIS G. PEREZ
For queries please contact:
BFAR Information and Public Relations Group
Tel. No.: (02) 454-5863
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