ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/10 Dec) – The estimated 30,000 workers affected by the three-month closed season for commercial fishing in the region will have an alternative means of livelihood through the SAGIP-Tamban program of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
SAGIP-Tamban means Sustained Availability through Genuine and Intensified Preservation of Tamban, the latter being a fish species used as the primary raw material in the manufacture of canned and bottled sardines in Zamboanga City and other parts of the region.
DOLE Regional Director Ponciano Ligutom said the program will also provide temporary or alternative employment for the workers’ dependents through the availment of skills trainings, livelihood or emergency employment from the government and other concerned stakeholders while their employers in the sardines, fishing and canning industries are still observing the closed fishing season.
Engr. George Ledesma, president of Industrial Group of Zamboanga, Inc., said some workers who are not directly employed in sardines production are also affected.
Implemented by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources BFAR, the closed season for commercial fishing started last December 1 and ends on March 1, 2012.
During the close season, it is prohibited to catch fish to give them time to spawn or reproduce.
Waters affected cover about 4,078 square nautical miles or 13,987.15 square kilometers, encompassing portion of East Sulu Sea, Basilan Strait and Sibuguey Bay.
Ligutom likened the closed season to “temporary loss of job,” the reason why they came up with the SAGIP-Tamban program. (MindaNews)