A TOTAL of 596 registered fisherfolk from 23 coastal barangays of Davao City received their incentives as volunteer guards of fishing grounds amounting from P1,000 to P3,000 under the Bantay-Laot Program.
The second turnover ceremony was held at the office of Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR)-Davao along Magsaysay Avenue last July 28, 2017.
The fisherfolk came from barangays Matina Aplaya, 21C, 23C, 31D, 76A, Bago Aplaya, Bunawan, Centro, Daliao, Dumoy, Duterte, Hizon, Ilang, Lapu-lapu, Lasang, Leon Garcia, Lizada, Matina Aplaya, Pampanga, Panacan, Sasa, Sirawan, Talomo, and Tibungco.
Under the Bantay Laot Program the fisherfolk undergo trainings and orientations on monitoring, control and surveillance, environmental briefing, and disaster preparedness trainings.
Bantay-Laot Program is an initiative of the BFAR to deter illegal fishing activities and to protect threatened marine and aquatic species in the municipal waters by capacitating subsistence fishers, particularly the Indigenous Peoples, as sea guardians or sea watchers during closed season in nationally-declared Fishery Management Areas.
With the participation of fisherfolk, the "Closed Season for the Conservation of Small Pelagic Fishes in Davao Gulf" and "Closed Season for the Conservation of Small Pelagic Fishes in Davao Gulf" are reaping higher compliance as there is now an army of volunteers to watch over their waters.
The closed season for fishing in Davao Gulf is now on its fourth year. This year, the season will end on August 31.
While the closed season had a few sectors opposing it four years ago, now fishing communities all over the region are supporting it after experiencing higher catch after giving the sea a three-month break.
As earlier reported by BFAR-Davao Regional Director Fatima Idris, a 9.5 percent increase in catch in Davao Gulf was recorded last year as compared to 2015, which is attributed to the strict implementation of the closed season, increase in aquaculture and marine municipal sub-sectors.
In the same year, the increase in catch resulted to a 22 percent fish sufficiency.
The first turnover of incentives was done last June 23 where P1.2 million was distributed to 587 fisherfolk from these barangays.