Posted by: Jimely Flores | April 5, 2017

In focus: the case of Hulbot-hulbot

In an event I had just attended, its surprising how many learned people (so called Ph D. holders and attorneys) are so gullible in  believing hook-line-and-sinker the mis-informations proliferated on hulbot-hulbot operations. 

What is a hulbot-hulbot?

This is a kind of fishing method that originally is a Danish Seine but was modified probably by the Japanese and introduced in the Philippines. The original Danish Seine (when set at sea) have 2 long lines called scarelines connected to both wings. In the modification (hulbot-hulbot) strips of sack materials were inserted in the twines of the lines. The lines with the hanging strips of sack materials (scarelines) make the operation more efficient in herding and enclosing the fishes and other marine organisms trapped inside the enclosure. Another modification is the use of the weights (locally called lingote) to efficiently close the wings during hauling instead of it being open as was from the original design. The weights are mostly made of concrete with two (or one) big rings made of steel where the scarelines and the wings passes through during the hauling. These two modifications made the fishing gear super efficient.

Catch composition analysis particularly the big ones indicate species associated with the sandy-muddy and demerso pelagic habitats such as bigeyes, ponyfishes, glass mojarras, lizardfishes, threadfin breams, roundscads, bigeye scads, squids, mackerels and other fishes. There are no strictly reef-related marine organisms being part of the major catch composition.

As a fisheries worker whose advocacy is efficient and realistic policy reforms to sustain the productivity of our oceans and the living resources therein, I am more concerned on the super efficiency of the fishing gear than its destruction to the habitat as per alleged by many who did not even went further than to listen to political science proliferating like fire in the news.  Its super efficiency necessitate its regulation but a total ban, may not be wise too.

I also hope the real fisheries scientists will step up and do the study to help the policy makers do their job better. What happened and is happening now is a reproduction of so many paper policies seemingly good but inefficient because of lack of science foundation and better thinking.

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