BFAR: Davao Gulf is fish breeding ground

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

A SURVEY conducted by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-National Assessment Program (BFAR-NSAP 11) confirmed that the Davao Gulf is an important spawning ground for fishes, including the highly migratory tuna species.

In line with the implementation of the close fishing season in Davao Gulf from June to August, the Oceanographic survey was conducted during the period in order to assess its physical, chemical and biological condition.

Jose A. Villanueva, Officer in Charge of BFAR Fisheries and Regulatory Law Enforcement Division and NSAP project leader, said yesterday during the Presentation of the Resource Assessment in Davao Gulf at Ateneo de Davao University that the research also served as a follow-up or a comparative study of the survey conducted earlier by the University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV) in Davao Gulf in 2002.


According to the study, tuna and tuna-like species can be found near the mouth of the gulf and they "tend to thrive along the depth of 25 meters were the water is not that warm and not that saline."

Identified tuna species found in the gulf, as presented by Riczyneth Arinque one of the researchers from BFAR, were bigeye tuna, yellow fin and skipjack tuna.

Fatma Idris, Regional Director of BFAR-Davao said in an interview that this study served as a "breakthrough" for them to know that there are tuna species existing in the Davao Gulf.

"Breakthrough yun na nalaman natin na meron, lalo nating proteksyunan (Davao Gulf) dahil meron," Idris said.

Overall result of the survey showed that Davao Gulf is an ideal ground for marine organisms to develop because of the high concentrations of phytoplankton, the main food producer in the marine food chain and chlorophyll-a, a green pigment found in almost all plants which are both the components for providing nourishment in the marine ecosystem.

A high abundance of fish larvae was also found in the area during the survey.

Highest distribution of fish larvae was found near Lupon, Pantukan, Tagum and Panabo wherein a lot of phytoplankton was found which was also similar to the result of the survey conducted by the UPV in 2002.

Out of the 2,180 fish larvae found which was divided into 84 fish families, Arinque said that 11 species were identified as commercial fishes.

The study also suggests conducting a similar oceanographic survey every month for at least a year in order to further determine the concentration and distribution of fish species in Davao Gulf.

Meanwhile, the "Davao Gulf Exploratory Survey' also showed that the marine diversity of the Davao Gulf is still high and also has a potential for deep sea fishing.

However, William Dela Cruz, one of the researchers from BFAR, said that results showed that Davao Gulf is not ideal for trawling of commercial fishes.

Moreover, Idris said that they will translate the studies to the vernacular and give it to different local government units for their reference.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 21, 2014.

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