Fish Conservation Week…
Rey Anthony Chiu
TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol October 12, 2012 (PIA)—Confronted with a multitude of fishery problems including alleged price cartels, fishery officials said most of the government focus is into increasing fish stocks and strengthening enforcement capabilities of communities for sustainable fisheries.
At the Kapihan sa PIA Thursday, October 11, to commemorate the Fish Conservation Week starting October 14, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Provincial Fisheries officer Cresencio Pahamutang and coastal resource management coordinator Adelfa Salutan said most government agencies are now into developing aquaculture and marine parks to assure quality fish and reliable in the Visayas.
At the radio forum on air to commemorate the Fish Conservation Week beginning Sunday, October 14, Salutan said Bohol is still the largest fish supplier in the Visayas.
She however said that its ironic that fish price in Bohol is high, despite the supply, which comes right from here.
Most Boholanos ascribe to the price disparity between Bohol its neighboring islands, to a highly organized and well-connected cartel that manipulates prices here.
For its part, government fishery authorities said fighting the problem from their end is making sure there is sustainable supply to cope with the demand to hopefully bring the price down.
On this, BFAR said making sure there is enough supply of fish means rehabilitating resources especially replanting abandoned fish ponds with mangroves as well as reclaiming damaged mangrove areas, considering that undisturbed mangroves provide the perfect habitat for fish to spawn and reproduce, Pahamutang said.
Other than that, BFAR as well as other government agencies are into assisting local government units put up their legislated marine sanctuaries to provide areas where fish can spawn and survive until they can mature and swim farther.
BFAR has also developed some 50 hectares of marine and aquaculture parks in Bohol, according to Pahamutang.
These parks are in Mabini, Candijay, Talibon, Calape and Maribojoc, where fish cages are put up to culture grouper, bangus and tilapia to make sure fish is easily available when needed.
Aside from the assuring salt-water fish stocks in mari-culture parks, BFAR also assists communities in establishing freshwater fisheries stocks in backyard fishponds.
Meanwhile, Assistant Provincial Agriculturist Larry Pamugas also revealed that their office is actively helping farmers increase their income by motivating them to grow freshwater fish in their farms or in irrigation facilities.
On keeping the fish stocks available for marginal fishers, Bohol Environment Management Office (BEMO) CRM coordinator Salutan said the Capitol is into assisting communities in strengthening their coastal law enforcement programs.
Salutan admits that costal communities have reported that in several instances, commercial fishers breach into municipal waters and fish from there.
The Fisheries Code of the Philippines delineates the first 15 kilometers of water from the shoreline as exclusive waters for municipal fisheries.
But, commercial fishers with their sophisticated fish finders stray into municipal waters and take everything, thus depriving marginal fishers of catch.
To keep this from happening, Salutan urged coastal communities, Coastal Law Enforcement Councils (CLEC) and municipal CLECS to be vigilant and report immediately cases of breaches.
This as Capitol, through BEMO assures more strengthening and capability building trainings for MCLEC and CLECS especially in the enforcement of municipal laws and marine sanctuary protection.
The move is also in line with the Fish Conservation Week Theme: Maunlad na Pangisdaan makamtan sa matatag na balikatan (30/ed)