TWO business chambers in Negros have assured support to the fishery development in the island by making it as one of their sectoral priorities.
In fact, officials of Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) and Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NOCCI) will conduct an executive briefing on Fish Right Program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAid) with 10 mayors of two Negros provinces at Bayawan City Convention Center today.
For Negros Occidental, local chief executives of Cauayan, Sipalay City and Hinoba-an are attending the activity along with their respective city and municipal agriculture officers and fishery personnel while those from Negros Oriental include Dumaguete City, Bacong, Zamboanguita, Siaton, Dauin, Bayawan City, and Basay.
Carbon said the briefing is a multi-sectoral initiative to support local programs on improving the fishery sector particularly those belonging to South Negros Marine Key Biodiversity Area.
The key biodiversity area encompasses the municipal waters from Dumaguete City to Basay in Negros Oriental, and from Hinoba-an to Cauayan in Negros Occidental.
Carbon said the briefing will underscore the rationale of the USaid’s program as well as its objective.
They will also discuss the problems and challenges of these local government units (LGUs) as far as fishery development program implementation is concerned.
“The program mainly aims to develop the fishery sector by improving the fish catch and increasing the income of the fish catchers,” he said, adding that this is the start of business chambers’ partnership with the foreign government agency, LGUs, and academe.
It can be recalled that USAid has tapped Silliman University (SU) in Dumaguete City for a collaboration to develop the southern Negros seas.
The SU then tapped MBCCI in developing the land side specifically in Negros Occidental, while USAid’s concern is on the seaside, the water side.
They USAid wants to improve, rehabilitate, preserve, and protect biodiversity mainly through research initiatives with the academe, Carbon earlier said.
He recalled that southern Negros seas are a potential source of high-value fish products like tuna.
“We will look for possible industry there, like canning of tuna maybe, to support the fishing community,” Carbon said, reiterating that ultimate outcome of the collaboration is poverty reduction especially on the shoreline barangays and communities where 60 percent of the population is located.
To further spur local fishery development, the business chambers are embarking on making the fishery sector a major sectoral member of the chamber.
This is in recognition of its role in securing the food and protein supply for the people, given the Filipinos high dependence on fish in an archipelagic country, it added.
Carbon said MBCCI and NOCCI are committed to support fishery development as a sectoral priority for ensuring the well-being of the people.
Fish is a basic staple food, Carbon stressed, pointing out that the local business sector recognizes the role of fishery sector to ensuring food security, thus, “they need the support both of the government and private sector.”
The business leader further said that water comprises 80 percent of the world’s area thus, there is a lot of production areas for fish and other marine products if just properly protected and conserved.
Negros still has huge potential in terms of marine resources. In fact, it is not fully maximized yet, Carbon said.
“We do not want our fishing community to remain poor because there’s plenty of opportunities to increase their income and make a lot of high paying industries,” he added.