Fishpond operators ordered to increase production

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

FISHPOND operators are expected to increase productivity following the issuance of the Fisheries Administrative Order (FAO) No. 197-1 series of 2012, which covers those who entered into Fishpond Lease Agreement (FLA) or Aquasiviculture Stewardship Contract (ASC) with the government, an official said.

The FAO took effect in January 2013, with the Department of Agriculture, as implementing agency, through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (Bfar).

In a consultation with FLA and ASC holders at the Pinnacle Hotel on Thursday, Bfar central office legal officer lawyer Demosthenes R. Escoto pointed out that aquaculturists who are in the FLA and ASC are required by the FAO to have a production of at least 1,000 kilos per hectare (kg/ha) and the production has to increase in the following years.

"Eventually there will be subsequent issuance (of more guidelines) that will try to increase production depending on the intervention by the government as far as the fiscal operations are concerned," he said.

According to FAO, those in the FLA are required to increase production to 1,100 kg/ha or 1,200 kg/ha in 2015, 1,300 kg/ha in 2016, 1,400 kg/ha in 2017, and 1,500 ka/ha in 2018.

ASC holders, on the other hand, "must have fully utilized the area for mangrove-friendly aquaculture and must have made it capable of production 1,000 kg/ha per year or its equivalent."

Failure to attain the required production as mandated by the the order will be considered underutilization of the area, which will be a ground for the cancellation of the lease agreement or contract.

Escoto said aquaculture, mainly under FLA or ASC, is one of the major sources of production in the fisheries industry.

For her part, Bfar 11 regional director Fatma M. Idris said: "The aquaculture here in the region contributes around 50 percent of the fisheries production while the municipal and commercial fishing contributes 30% and 20%, respectively."

In his welcome remarks, Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Council 11 chair Armando C. Angsinco said the FAO is very important in ensuring food security in the near future.

"Due to climate change, there is a possibility that a long drought will come in the next five to 10 years. With the FAO the sector can prepare and in the event it happens the sector could make modest contribution in the production of food," Angsinco told reporters in an interview at the sidelines of the event.

He also said the FAO will help balance the production of the aquaculture industry with the increasing demands of the population.

The FAO No. 197-1 series of 2012 is the updated version of the FAO No. 197 series of 2000.

"We conducted the review last 2011, to know what needed to be changed a tune to the need of times," Escoto said.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on December 20, 2013.


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