DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/26 April) – Efforts to curb illegal fishing activities must be intensified to enable key fishing grounds in Davao Gulf to recover from overfishing and destruction, National Economic Development Authority-Davao director Maria Lourdes Lim said on Thursday.
Lim said this after noting that the output of the fishery subsector of the Davao Region declined by 7%, from P2.059 billion in 2017 to P1.915 billion last year.
She said the poor performance of the subsector could be blamed on the reduction of the number of fishing trips and municipal fishing boats “due to strong winds and rough seas, as well as difficulties in aquaculture production including lack of capital, the decline in the supply of fingerlings for stocking and increase in water siltation levels.”
Repairs and maintenance of fishing vessels as well as a reduction of fish unloading from foreign flagged-vessels had also caused a decline in commercial fisheries production, she said.
Support for sustainable fishing and aquaculture, including financing and skills enhancement programs for the fisherfolk entrepreneurs must be scaled up to remedy the poor performance of the fishery subsector, she said.
She added the programs aimed at improving the efficiency of aquaculture production should remain a government priority.
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-Davao regional director Fatma Idris explained the three-month closure of Davao Gulf to fishing activities from June 1 to August 30, 2018 caused the decline in the output of the fishery subsector.
The gulf is a spawning ground for tuna and other marine creatures.
Meanwhile, most of the fish catch of the fishing vessels in the region were brought to General Santos City.
To increase the output of the subsector, she said they would assist fishers in putting up an additional 300 fish cages.
Lim said the overall regional performance of agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing sector last year registered a positive growth of 2.9%, or higher compared to 1.7% in 2017.
The sector’s contribution to the overall Gross Domestic Regional Product was P42.610 billion, according to the the Philippine Statistics Authority. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)