|Coastal, Marine and Island Biodiversity: Fisheries|
Fishbase records indicate that the country harbors about 3,212 fish species (list still incomplete), 731 of which are considered commercially important. Annual fish yield is estimated at 5-24 mt per sq km while per capita food consumption of fish and fishery products is estimated at 36 kg per year (BFAR-NFRDI-PAWB, 2005).
As of 2007, the total fish production totaled 4,711.3 mt valued at PhP 180,545.20 million compared to 2004 values of 3,926.10 mt amounting to PhP 138,846.50 million. These are distributed as follows: 1,192.10 mt (PhP 54,737.5 M) from commercial fisheries, 1,304.4 mt (PhP 64,210.4 M) from municipal fisheries, and 2,214.8 mt (PhP 61,597.3 M) from aquaculture (Table 14) (BAS as cited in PSY 2008). As in the past, capture fisheries (commercial and municipal) continue to be the major contributor to the country's total fish production with the aquaculture sector contributing significantly.
Fish and fishery products are mostly landed at the following landing centers: Navotas Fish Port, Zamboanga City, and Quezon for commercial fisheries; Palawan, Zamboanga del Norte, Negros Occidental, Iloilo, and Surigao del Norte for municipal fisheries; and, Tawi-tawi and Sulu; Bulacan, Pampanga, Negros Occidental, Pangasinan, Bataan, and Iloilo for aquaculture.
The National Stock Assessment Program (NSAP) of the BFAR-NFRDI monitors commercial and municipal landings at strategic major and minor ports in 13 fishing grounds nationwide and provides data on the status of fisheries in these major fishing grounds. The NSAP forms part of the Integrated Fisheries Management Unit (IFMU) scheme adopted by BFAR through Fisheries Office Order No. 217, S. of 2008 as a governance approach to fisheries management. The introduction of IFMU’s is meant to establish a more comprehensive and integrated approach to sustain coastal fisheries. It addresses the fact that fishery resources are shared resources that go beyond geographical and ecological boundaries, and that collaboration and partnerships across management institutions and stakeholders are necessary to sustain it.
Major threats to fisheries stocks are unabated fishing pressure brought about by the number of fishers and abundance of fishing gear or collectors per unit area, and accelerated development in capture fisheries such as the rapid mechanization of fishing operations and introduction of very efficient fishing gears. Recent data on the exploitation rates of selected fish species (n = 129 spp.) show high extraction patterns (~ie. fishing mortalities) in the Babuyan Channel, Lingayen Gulf, Northern Zambales, Lagonoy Gulf, Sorsogon Bay, Visayan and Camotes Seas, Honda Bay, Hinatuan and Dinagat Waters and Davao Gulf (Figure 15) (BFAR-NFRDI, 2008).
Exploitation rates (~E values) refers to the ratio of fishing mortality against total mortality (Z) (total mortality being the sum of natural and fishing mortalities), which ideally should be in the range of 0.3-0.5. Natutal mortality (M) refers to fish deaths due to natural causes such as death due to old age, diseases, cannibalism, etc. while fishing mortality (F) is attributed to the extraction or fishing activities inflicted on the species.