?Payao? project in Sarangani Bay gets support

Allan de Lima, operations chief of the Center for Advancement and Strengthening of Community Property Rights, Inc. (CASCO), said the Bureau of Fish and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is purchasing equipment that will be used in putting up 50 payaos.


The Sangguniang Panlalawigan’s nod came over a year after the signing of the contract between BFAR and the provincial government establishing a fish shelter project at the bay worth P5 million. The payao project, which could benefit 35,000 small fishermen, was supposed to be implemented at the end of 2005.


“The payaos will be put up near the shores to favor the small fishermen,” De Lima said.


But De Lima expressed concern that the payao project, although expected to improve the economic lot of the small fishermen, could also be harmful in the long term because even small fish could be caught.


But Kert Dequito, of Sarangani fisheries and coastal resources management office, stressed that they would not allow fishermen to use fine-meshed nets at the fish shelter area to avoid catching small fish.


He said, too, that the payao system would not be open to all fish operators, particularly banning commercial fishers from operating in the project area. “Only pump boats with 16 horse power and below would be allowed to reap the gains of the fish shelter project,” he stressed.


Dequito said that only hook and line fishing method will be allowed near the payaos.


He said that fishermen’s organizations and barangay and municipal officials will be the ones to manage the fish shelter projects.