CALBAYOG CITY, Samar -- The City Government here has stepped up the campaign against illegal dynamite fishing in its two coastal villages.
Mayor Ronaldo Aquino said Thursday, March 16, that they gathered 45 fishermen last week for a meeting with the City Agriculture Office and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
Aquino said dynamite fishing is still prevalent in Tinaplacan and Bugtong villages.
The local government asked fishermen to sign a covenant to abandon destructive fishing methods. The government also provided them with gillnet and fishing boats as livelihood assistance for catching buraw (short mackerel), a species used for smoked fish production.
“We have been monitoring these two villages so we can arrest those who will not stop destructive fishing,” Aquino added.
The mayor noted that illegal fishing had greatly diminished fish catch in the city. From three to 10 truckloads of fish every day, the volume dropped to only a truckload due to destructive fishing activities, he said.
BFAR Eastern Visayas Director Visa Tan-Demirin said it takes the political will of local government officials to stop illegal fishing activity, such as dynamite fishing, in their respective areas.
“They know who these people are and where they live,” Demirin added. “But if the local government does not want to apprehend them because they are voters, we (BFAR) will take the necessary action to arrest the illegal fishermen.”
Calbayog is a first-class city in Samar province with a population of 183,851. The city lies along the coastal region of the province stretching about 97 kilometers from the northern tip of the island and 290 kilometers from southern boundaries. It is the third largest city in terms of land and water areas in the Philippines. (PNA)