MANILA - The Philippines said Wednesday it is banning the use of heavy-weighted fishing nets that drag along the ocean floor inflicting damage to seabed communities and coral reefs.
The ban on "Danish seine" fishing nets will take effect in mid-March, giving hundreds of fishing boats time to switch their equipment, said Asis Perez, head of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
"This is because of their adverse effect on the environment. They (the nets) have weights attached to them, it drags on the ocean floor, it hits the corals and damages the marine life," he told AFP.
Perez said the bureau took action after small fishermen and coastal communities made numerous complaints about big fishing boats using the nets, which are weighted more heavily than other forms of net used to trawl the seabed.
The bureau's licensing division said that at least 795 fishing boats were using this type of net and would be affected by the ban.
A Danish seine is a contraption consisting of a conical net connected to herding devices and heavy sinkers that are hauled typically using mechanical winches.