Posted by: Jimely Flores | March 5, 2015

Miniaturization of fishing gears

Miniaturization has been the path this new era is into. Machineries, gadgets, every man-made implements created for man-made use and pleasure are going nano in sizes.

Even here in the Philippine fisheries, though its reasons has nothing to do with the global technological changes. In 2004, due to several factors such as increased of fossil fuel costs, increased cost of materials and escalated campaign on reducing illegal fishing, I saw miniaturization happening in the fishing industry of the country particularly those operating in the inter-island seas. This observation was mentioned in the book I co-authored entitled “Fisheries of Central Visayas: Status and Trends” – wherein the ringnets and bagnets fishing boats were downsized to stay fishing in the municipal waters while maintaining the sizes of the fishing gears (oneocean.org/download/db_files/cv_fish_profile.pdf). This is to circumvent the law and minimized fuel cost but exacerbating overcapacity that is pushing the resources into overfished state.

At present, BFAR has just successfully make the ban of Danish Seines legal. Will this just be another law on paper? Don’t get me wrong, it is such a good law in principle but there are obvious unthought-of negative nuances in it. The premise that it destroys the reefs is not true, DS are not operating in reef areas otherwise they would end up with broken nets. The law did not definitely look on the social aspect, where will the fishworkers go? Maybe into blasting? Blasting is a fishing method that requires less capital. Or maybe the displaced fishworkers be recipients of the harmful subsidies such as gillnets and other fishing gears that when simple math is used, it show to just worsen the overfishing status? This is forced miniaturization. Banning is one of the most harsh regulation and it should always be based on good science and socio-economic foundation – significant basic foundations that unfortunately are not so much respected in this country.

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