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Agriculture

Ocean color shows where schools of fish abound

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Through the color of the surface of the ocean, one can determine where schools of fish abound.

The scientific process can identify areas with abundant plankton, a mass of tiny plants and animals floating in the sea or in lakes, usually near the surface, and eaten by fish and other aquatic animals.

The research was conducted by a team from the University of the Philippines-Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI) with funding support from the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BA).

Results of the three-year study led by Dr. Laura David, titled "Ocean color for sustainable fisheries," were presented at a scientific forum sponsored by DA-BAR last October. Since then, it was gathered, several fishing firms have expressed interest in it.

"Areas of high planktonic production are potential fishing zones," the UP-MSI team averred in a report.

Ocean color data are related to the presence of particulates or substance on the water’s surface, especially the presence of photosynthetic phyto-plankton (tiny plants as differentiated from zooplanktons or tiny animals) that contain chlorophyll (the green matter of plants).

Oceanographic features can be mapped in near real time basis with the use of satellite technology, the UP-MSI research team explained. This capability, coupled with the knowledge of oceanographic conditions affecting fisheries population and historical catch data, can lead to forecasting of fish populations and their movements.

The research identified the most productive fishing grounds that have an average of annual fisheries production of 50,000 metric tons and more per year. These are South Sulu Sea, East Sulu Sea, Moro Gulf, all in the southern part of the archipelago; Visayas Sea, Bohol Sea, and Guimaras Strait. These fishing areas contribute one-half of the country’s total annual production.

Those with moderate fisheries production (25,000-50,000 mt/year) are West Palawan Waters, Samar Sea, Leyte Gulf, Lamon Bay, and Cuyo Pass.

The researchers expressed optimism that the technology can be used as an effective tool for sustainable fisheries management. More important, with the technology Filipino fishermen can now identify bountiful fishing grounds and thus can catch more fish. – Rudy A. Fernandez

BOHOL SEA

CUYO PASS

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE-BUREAU OF AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH

DR. LAURA DAVID

EAST SULU SEA

GUIMARAS STRAIT

LAMON BAY

LEYTE GULF

MORO GULF

RUDY A

SAMAR SEA

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