Small fisher folk leaders from many coastal towns and cities of Negros Occidental brought their concerns to Governor Eugenio Lacson in a dialog at the Provincial Capitol last week.
The leaders who belong to the newly-organized Panay-Negros-Guimaras Crab Fishers Alliance (PANEG-CA) and the Negros Occidental Small Fishers Alliance (NOFSFA) called on the governor to address the continued illegal fishing on local waters, poverty, the lack of livelihood for coastal communities, the need for protection and development of the blue swimming crabs (BSC) industry, the intrusion of illegal marine and black sand mining in coastal areas, lack of participation in local governance especially in fisheries and aquatic resource management councils (FARMCs), and the dire effects of climatic changes in coastal areas.
Lacson assured the group to look more deeply into such issues and reassured the fishermen of his support for their struggles for a decent life and sustainable future.
Among the initial points of agreement reached with the group included strengthening of monitoring and enforcement on illegal fishing, review of provincial BSC ordinance including the need for the closed season, fostering engagement with local government units and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) on the strengthening of FARMCs, and the provision of livelihood support to affected small fishers and their families.
Lacson also expressed his support to PANEG-CA which will have its founding regional congress on December 18-19 in Bacolod City. (PR)