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PCG: The fishing season for sardines in several parts of Mindanao has officially closed. 

The send-off ceremony last Thursday December 1 observed the Administrative Circular 255 of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) which orders the closing season on sardines fishing in the waters of East Sulu Sea, Basilan Strait and Sibuguey Bay as a conservation measure implemented during the spawning season of tunsoy (fimbricated sardines), tamban (Indian sardines), and tulis(round herring). 

It was participated  in by local fishermen, canneries and various local government units. 

The three-month fishing ban covers 22,260 square kilometers of municipal and national waters of Zamboanga del Norte, the south and eastern Zamboanga City, and the southern portion of Zamboanga Sibugay. 

The send-off ceremony was highlighted with the marching of maglayag to which the aligned troops marched towards their respective vessels and set sail on different zones covering the areas for sardines fishing ban. 

The troops were composed of seven Coast Guard officers and 46 personnel manning BFAR vessels as well as MCS 3006 and 3009, and 15 Quick Response Team law enforcers of BFAR Region 9.

BFAR Regional Director Isidro Velayo lauded the PCG's contribution in implementing BAC 255 and has referred to the organization as its "major partner" in enforcing the closure.

The fishing ban on sardines will add to the various engagements of Coast Guard District South Western Mindanao. It has already intensified operations since September when the President issued Memorandum Order 4s 2016 which called for the inclusion of the PCG in the implementation of measures to suppress and prevent lawless violence in Mindanao.