Philippines: Councillor Calls for More Aquaculture Programs

The sangguniang panlungsod is seeking to hasten fish culture activities in this city as an alternative livelihood for fisher folks affected by the dismantling of fish pens along the Pantal River.

Councilor Redford Erfe-Mejia suggested the move saying that the city agriculture office should upgrade its aquaculture program to include raising siganid (malaga), grouper (lapu-lapu) and other species to augment the income of the fisher folks.

Erfe-Mejia made the suggestion during the regular session of the sangguniang panlungsod at the T. Ayson Rosario Elementary School in Barangay Calmay on Monday.

The issue surfaced after several fisher folks from Barangay Calmay manifested their experiences after their fish pens and other fishing structures were demolished more than a year ago to clear the city’s rivers for dredging.

To compensate, the city government launched oyster farming and other kinds of livelihood in the communities as an alternative.

Mayor Benjamin S. Lim, it will be recalled, said oysters can also help clean the river thru filtering of the water.

Some of the fisher folks, however, said they were not given such a livelihood while those who did, found it not sufficient for an income.

Arnold Vinoya, a resident of the place, said his family has been struggling financially since their fish pen was dismantled. “Instead of going to school, my children have to work themselves to augment our family’s income,” he added.

He suggested that the city government should allow the fisher folks to continue with their old fishing practices until dredging has reached their area.

He noted that no dredging has yet been done there since their fish pens were dismantled.

Councilor Alvin T. Coquia, chair of the committee on agriculture, urged the fisher folks to make a list of suggestions and express their concern as a group so that the city government will promptly address the issue.

The city council will also invite to the next session City Agriculturist Emma Molina and Coastal Management Chief Butch Gutierrez to shed light on the matter.


Dredging Today Staff, February 15, 2012