Batanes is the country’s northernmost and smallest province. Composed of eight islands, it has a land area of 20,928 hectares, marine waters of 4,500 square kilometers, and a population of about 17,000. The main economic activities of its people, called Ivatans, are agriculture and fishing.
In a 2010 survey conducted by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Region 2 headed by Dr. Jovita Ayson, it was reported that the marine waters of Batanes are rich in pelagic (surface-dwelling), demersal (bottom-dwelling), and coral reef-residing fishes and invertebrates.
The major pelagic fishes are the flying fish locally known as “dibang,” dolphinfish (arayo), and needlefish (hahay). The demersal fishes include moray eels, porgies, bigeyes, sharks, and stingrays. The surgeonfish, tang, jack, pompano, sea bass, grouper, and snapper are among the reef fishes. There are also swimming mollusks like squid, cuttlefish, and octopus caught along with lobsters.