Cagayan De Oro City

Cagayan de Oro cautions fisherfolk against catching small fishes

Lynde Salgados
Cagayan de Oro cautions fisherfolk against catching small fishes

SEA-BOUND. Fishermen from the village of Bonbon in Cagayan de Oro head out to sea on Wednesday, August 24.

Lynde Salgados/Rappler

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources sends inspectors to check on the Bonbon fishers on Thursday morning, two days after their big catch

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – The city government on Thursday, August 25, cautioned fisherfolk against catching small fishes, saying it poses a risk to marine life populations in the Macajalar Bay.

City hall expressed its apprehensions after fishers in the coastal village of Bonbon reported catching thousands of kilograms of dulong, also called hipon in the city, after a two-night search for sardines in the Macajalar Bay.

Dulong fishing is illegal but it has been tolerated… Harvesting the small variety of fishes is obviously detrimental to the ocean wildlife populations,” said Bencyrus Ellorin, communications group head of Cagayan de Oro Mayor Rolando Uy.

He said small fishes are usually post-larval and juvenile sardines and anchovies.

Ellorin said local legislators may need to work out an ordinance for seasonal fishing to protect the marine life in Macajalar Bay.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) sent its officers to check on the Bonbon fishers on Thursday morning, two days after their big catch.

But when they checked the small fishes on display, they said the catch was not the variety that was illegal to harvest.

Ma. Arlene Caminero said the catch was neither the maranay (anchovy) nor the malangsi (sardine) variety which is illegal to catch.

Maranay and malangsi are classified under strict protection. The Bureau of Fisheries has no problems with these,” Caminero said.

Fisherman Ernan Baal, 64, said the small fishes caught by sardine fishermen this week do not grow the size of tamban (sardines).

He said there was a time when city hall went strict with the fishing of hipon or dulong until a group of fishermen convinced local officials that these were not anchovies or sardines but species that thrive on freshwater. He said the small fishes were swept into the Macajalar Bay from the uplands.

Declining catch

Caminero and another BFAR officer, Arc Medrozo, said they have noted a significant decline in the sardine catch in the fishing village since January.

As of Thursday morning, fishers only brought home two kilograms of the lowly tamban.

Fisherfolk told them there were days when they went home empty-handed after spending hours searching for sardines.

The BFAR officers’ faces brightened when they saw what remains of the hipon brought home on Tuesday, August 23, by fisherfolk, which vendors called a “blessing.”

The fisherfolk had been searching for sardines for two straight nights but found no significant catch until they hit big with the small fishes in the waters off Tagoloan town in Misamis Oriental. They went home with approximately 4,000 kilos of dulong, also called hipon in Cagayan de Oro.

Until this year, Bonbon’s tamban fishermen returned from every fishing trip with 60 to 100 boxes of sardines. Each box weighed approximately 40 kilos.

“Today, we could no longer depend on our fishermen here for our tamban display. We are forced to buy elsewhere,” said Bonbon fish vendor Gina Oguimas.

Medrozo said that climate change has something to do with the decline in the village’s tamban catch, and the influx of the small fishes from Cagayan de Oro’s upstreams.

Ellorin, meanwhile, said overfishing by big fishing groups and pollution may have also caused the decline of the tamban catch in Macajalar Bay. –

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  1. JM

    Fisherfolk not fisherman, pregnant people not pregnant women I’m not sure if I’m huMAN anymore, maybe hufolk?