P1.9B allotted for fisheries program-A A +A
Monday, January 9, 2012
THE Department of Agriculture has allocated P1.9 billion to implement an integrated, pro-poor and community-based fisheries and aquaculture program, which aims “to lift small fisherfolk families from abject poverty.”
The program’s major initiatives include the establishment and maintenance of 62 mariculture parks and nine regional and municipal fish ports; expansion and intensification of the ‘fishcage-for-livelihood’ scheme; provision of training and technical assistance in various areas in aquaculture, municipal, commercial, postharvest and regulatory services;
Establishment of hatcheries and nurseries; implementation of an integrated community-based multi-species hatchery and aquasilviculture or the raising of fish in mangrove areas projects as well as of coastal resource management projects, among others.
Under the aquasilvi program, participating fishermen will plant mangrove trees and will be trained on how to raise high-value species such as lapulapu or grouper coupled with alimango (mudcrabs) and tilapia.
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources director Asis Perez earlier said BFAR already allotted P280.8-million for the program and initially identified 31 coastal areas where the program will be implemented.
The agency also inked deals with some 40 state universities and colleges offering fishery and aquaculture courses that will serve as project managers of community-based multi-species hatcheries.
“Participating fisherfolk families will be paid up to P5.50 per mangrove (broken down as P1.50 for the planting material, P2 for planting and P2 for every tree that survives). So each family could earn up to P16,500 per hectare,” Perez said in Sunday’s statement.
“What is significant about this program is that government money will directly benefit fishermen and their families, create more job opportunities, and, importantly, result to improving and protecting our aquatic resources,” Perez added.
He added that aquasilvi fisher-families will be provided with nets to enclose the mangrove area, “making it their own fish growing area. Canals will be dug as growing sanctuaries while excess fish may be set free into the wild to increase the fish population for other municipal fishers.”
Fishers may choose to raise fish for their own consumption and sell the excess. “They may also consolidate their catch with other aquasilvi fishers and sell their harvest to institutional buyers and markets.”
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on January 09, 2012.