TANAUAN, Leyte -- The local government here urged locals to help in the drive against illegal fishing, which was tagged as culprit in the decreasing fish catch.
Mayor Pelagio Tecson Jr. said on September 19 that hundreds of local fishers were asked to guard the coastal waters by reporting intrusion of commercial fishing boats and illegal fishers.
“As part of making Tanauan a fishing destination in the whole region, these illegal activities must first be stopped. Good thing that our local fisherfolk are joining us to stop this illegal fishing,” Tecson said.
The campaign is being prioritized in the coastal villages of Sta. Cruz, Magay, San Roque, Sto. Niño, Cabuynan, and Bislig.
Fisherman Nanding Dores, 56, of Magay village, said the output drop brought by unlawful fishing activities prompted him to participate in efforts to guard the coastal resources.
“It is very damaging for small fisherman like us. We do our living the right way because we know it is the right thing to do. I just hope that illegal fishing stops,” Dores said.
Aside from overfishing, Leyte Gulf is threatened by dynamite fishing and illegal trawl fishing of commercial vessels. These resulted in the destruction of coral reefs, decline in fish catch, disappearance of several fish species, depleted mangroves, and absence of sea grass beds.
Dores recalled that in the 1990s, he used to earn P400 daily from fishing, but because of destructive fishing activities, his income dropped to P200 daily over the past years.
Tecson said illegal fishers in this town are from neighboring municipalities, as reported by local fishermen.
The local government recently acquired motorboats and basic equipment for sea patrol by some trained fishermen.
“We have a series of meetings with mayors in towns within the coverage of Leyte Gulf to converge our efforts to protect the sea,” Tecson told PNA.
The 140,00- hectare area of the historic Leyte Gulf supplies food for about 560,000 people, according to a study commissioned by the German Technical Cooperation or the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Tech-nische Zusammenarbeit under its Environment and Rural Development Program.
The report also revealed that the daily average catch of a fisherman in the Leyte Gulf dropped from 50 kilograms to only three to five kilograms. (PNA)