KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/10 September) — The remote coastal town of Kalamansig in Sultan Kudarat is seeking the help of the Republic of Korea to support the growth of the local fishing industry, Ambutong Pautong, assistant director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-Region 12 said
The Kalamansig government has proposed to the South Korean embassy the funding of a wharf and cold storage facilities.
“The local government unit wants to develop a fish port complex that includes cold storage and processing facilities,” he said in a telephone interview.
A cold storage facility with a capacity of at least 500 metric tons would be helpful in keeping the quality of tuna caught by local fishermen before these are brought to buyers in General Santos City, he said.
Kalamansig is about 165 kilometers from Isulan, the provincial capital, and can be reached in about seven hours through rough mountain roads.
BFAR officials headed by Asis Perez, the newly installed national director, recently visited Kalamansig town and were briefed by Mayor Rolando Garcia about local initiatives for the fishing industry.
The Kalamansig government also plans to establish a multi-species hatchery in Barangay Santa Clara, a report from the BFAR regional office said.
Pautong said that BFAR-12 has committed to the local government the establishment of a nursery as initial help to strengthen the local fishing industry.
Perez, who assumed office last June, vowed to allocate funds for the establishment of a multi-species hatchery and the deployment of several units of lambaklad, a passive fishing gear.
Dynamite fishing is still reportedly rampant in the waters off Kalamansig and in the neighboring towns of Lebak and Palimbang, also in Sultan Kudarat.
Perez responded that BFAR is working to regulate the procurement of nitrate, one of the materials used in making dynamites. He urged vigilance from the people to stop dynamite and other illegal forms of fishing in the area while the agency institutes measures to address the problem.
Sani Macabalang, BFAR-12 director, said stocks caught using illegal fishing forms must be denied market. Without an assured or ready market, these illegal fishers “would have no other recourse but to fish the lawful and environment-friendly way,” Macabalang said. (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)