BANNING THE CAPTURE AND SALE OF PARROTFISH IS AN EFFECTIVE CONSERVATION TOOL
Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp
THE WILD SIDE
Experience has already shown that total fishing bans for selected groups of Fish caught in non-selective gear, like a large net left for a few hours around a patch of reef, simply doesn’t work. “What a fishing ban on a specific group that’s also economically important might do is to likely shift fishing pressure to other groups, which can adversely affect Coral reef systems,” adds Kent. Many fishers in the Philippines and beyond depend on various types of reef Fish for their sustenance and livelihoods. Simply saying “Stop fishing for parrotfish!” won’t work (even if you ask nicely and say please) and will most likely be resented by subsistence fishers living well below the daily poverty threshold of PHP100 daily. “A ban isn’t inclusive for fisherfolk because it’s a solution which caters to either the environment or people, not both. Sustainable solutions should be created in partnership with those who directly rely on marine resources. Fishers should always be considered collaborators for conservation, never enemies,” notes Gela Petines, founder of Batang VIP. Except for Bumphead Parrotfish, which are classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a total ban on catching Parrotfish shouldn’t be a priority management action. “If the objective is to sustain fisheries, then Parrotfish must be managed just like how most other reef Fish targeted for food are managed,” adds Dr. Abesamis.