BATANGAS, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Calabarzon urged the public to report establishments and restaurants selling tawilis during the closed season, from March 1 until April 30.
“What you may be ordering may have been frozen since February,” the agency said.
The DENR Calabarzon is enforcing a Philippine Commonwealth era administrative order issued in 1939 by the then known Fish and Game Administration under the Bureau of Science.
In that order, signed by then president Manuel L. Quezon, it is illegal to catch, kill or sell sardines during the closed season.
Recently the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed Sardinella tawilis as an endangered species. It is the only freshwater species of Sardinella and is only found in Lake Taal, Batangas.
The Philippine Society for Freshwater Science (PSFS) ended the Tawilis Summit held February 19 at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila with a statement supporting the conservation and sustainable management of Sardinella tawilis and Lake Taal. The theme of the summit was “4TS: Talakayan Tungkol sa Tawilis at Taal.”
“Based on two separate studies on the reproductive biology of tawilis, data show that spawning season peaks during the months of March and April. Similarly, it was observed that during the spawning season, tawilis are mostly found nearshore where the 'macrophytes' are located,” the statement read.
The PSFS supported the implementation of a closed season, as well as a recommended mesh-size for fishing, and establishment of tawilis sanctuary areas in Lake Taal.
The group also called on government agencies and fisherfolk organizations to impose strong law implementation and regular monitoring of the Taal lake. They also encouraged the academe to do research aimed at removing the tawilis as an endangered species.
PSFS also opposed the construction of the planned Taal Lake Circumferential Road (TLCR), which it claimed was too close to the lakeshore areas.
"The placement of this road would have a negative impact on littoral vegetation, which the tawilis and other aquatic organisms in Lake Taal utilize heavily as their breeding grounds or actual habitat," the group said.
The DENR said the public may report establishments or restaurants selling tawilis during this closed season via sms to +639456215007/ +639083340224, email firstname.lastname@example.org or send photos, videos and other information via https://www.facebook.com/DENR4AOfficial/. – Rappler.com