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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Book Review: Guide to Fishing Gears in the Philippines

 Book Review: Guide to Fishing Gears in the Philippines

Dugan, Chito E., Alfredo L. Bernarte, Jr. and Cesar Allan C. Vera, Jr. Guide to Fishing Gears in the Philippines. Quezon City: Sentro Para sa Ikauunlad ng Katutubong Agham at Teknolohiya,Inc. c2003. v, various paginations.

In 1950, Agustin Umali published a classic book on fishing gears in the Philippines, Guide to the Classification of Fishing Gears in the Philippines. Research Report 17. United States Government Printing Office. 1950. Until now this book is still being used by students and faculty as a reference material.

In 1998, BFAR published another book on fishing gears in the Philippines, Handbook on Selected Philippine Fishing Gears and Methods.

And then in 2003, Dugan et al published this book under review.

This book as stated in the Introduction is "intended as a quick reference material for identifying gear type and not for gear construction. While it gives a rough estimate of the dimensions of the materials that are used on a particular gear type, it is only intended to provide a clearer picture of the gear. Detailed specifications on gear designs are therefore not incorporated in this book."

The book is divided into18 chapters.

The classifications and descriptions of each of the fishing gears used in the different part of the Philippines, particularly those gears commonly used by municipal fishers start on chapter 4.

About two-third of the book deals on hand instruments like snare and spear, traps, handlines, gill nets, trammel nets, lift nets, surrounding nets, seines, trawls and boat dredges, push nets, falling nets, tidal nets, and destructive and stupefying methods of catching which include electrofishing, blast fishing and poison.

Before each fishing gear and method is described, the authors provide general description of the group of fishing gears, followed by a specific write-up on each fishing gear. Like the snare, the authors first gives the local name of the gear (Panukot in Bulacan and Panundot/Ganso in Cavite), then followed by its variations, operation, socio-economic analysis, environmental importance, technological information like its volume of catch, and lastly information on management options.

An illustration in black and white of each of the gears is provided.

But aside from the descriptions given to each fishing gear, this book also provides other useful information.

While Chapter 17 deals on the existing Philippine policies on the fishing gears, and on the management of fishing gears, Chapter 18 provides gear nomenclature, glossary, research partners and the list of references.

Over-all, I can say that this book is a very informative reference material on fishing gears in the Philippines.

Its usefulness will outlive its binding and the paper it uses.

I certainly like its cover design: very invocative.

However, it does not provide an index, although its table of contents can provide sufficient information on what page a certain fishing gear is discussed.

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