DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/02 January) – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) 11 will distribute some 4,500 fiberglass boats within three years.
BFAR 11 director Fatma Idris told a press conference on Monday that at least 1,500 units that are sturdier than wooden boats will be given to fisherfolk this year.
She said each fiberglass boat will cost about P60,000, and will be distributed to fishers who are cooperating with the agency’s coastal management and protection campaign.
The same fishers will receive a cash incentive of P3,000 a month, she said.
“We can see here that they can take care of the sea because these beneficiaries will be tools to maintain the cleanliness of the Davao Gulf,” she said.
Idris said Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol wanted to replace the 8,000 wooden boats fishing in the gulf before the end of the term of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
She added that they estimated the fish catch for 2017 will reach 65,597 metric tons (MT), following a successful implementation of a fishing ban in the Davao Gulf in 2016.
Records from BFAR 11 showed that the fish catch in the region as of third quarter of 2016 reached 43,567 MT.
But the fish ban has been implemented since 2014 after the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Interior and Local Government issued joint Administrative Circular No. 2 prohibiting fishing in the gulf from June 1 to August 31 of every year.
Commercial fishing vessels from 3.1 to 150 gross tons are banned from fishing in the gulf.
The ban prohibits the use of bag nets and ring nets.
Idris urged the fishers to refrain from using bag nets and ring nets as they would also catch the fingerlings.
She said fishers in Mabini in Compostela Valley and San Isidro in Davao Oriental claimed they had reported an increase of 2-10 kilos a day in their fish catch a day after the ban.
She urged the operators of fish cages mounted at the shorelines of the gulf cities and municipalities not to overstock to prevent polluting the seawater. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)