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PIA Press Release
Monday, January 16, 2012


DA fisheries program gets P1.9B boost

by Jerome Carlo R. Paunan

QUEZON CITY, Jan. 16 (PIA) -- In its bid to produce adequate supply of quality, world-class yet affordable fishery and aquaculture products, the Department of Agriculture has allotted P1.9 billion this year to implement major initiatives, including an integrated, pro-poor and community-based fisheries and aquaculture program.

In a statement, Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said the program also aims to lift small fisherfolk families from abject poverty.

The program, spearheaded by the DA’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), involves implementation of major initiatives that include the following: Implementation of an integrated community-based multi-species hatchery and aqua-silviculture projects; Establishment and maintainance of 62 mariculture parks and 9 regional and municipal fishports; Expansion and intensification of the “fish cage-for-livelihood” program; Provision of training and technical assistance in various areas in aquaculture, municipal, commercial, post-harvest, and regulatory services; Establishment of hatcheries and nurseries; Implementation of Coastal Resource Management projects; Operation of the Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) System; Ensure compliance with global food safety standards; and Active participation in the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI).

Secretary Alcala said the establishment of community-based hatcheries and aquasilvi or mangrove farms is the DA’s flagship program to provide poor marginal fisherfolk families with income and employment opportunities and make them self-sufficient.

He said under the aquasilvi program, or raising of fish in mangrove areas, participating fishermen will plant mangrove trees and will be trained on how to raise high-value species such as lapulapu (grouper) in tandem with alimango (mudcrabs) and tilapia.

BFAR Director Asis Perez said his agency has allotted P280.8 million for the program, and initially identified 31 coastal areas where the program will be implemented. Likewise, BFAR has forged an agreement with some 40 State Colleges and Universities offering Fisheries program that will serve as project managers of community-based multi-species hatcheries.

He said each site shall be planted with 3,000 mangrove propagules. Participating fisherfolk families will be paid up to P5.50 per mangrove (P1.50 for the planting material, P2 for planting and P2.00 for every tree that survives). Hence, each family could earn up to P16,500 per hectare.

Further, participating aquasilvi fisher-families will be provided with nets to enclose the mangrove area, making it their own fish growing area. Canals will be dug as growing sanctuaries, while excess fish may be set free into the wild to increase the fish population for other municipal fishers.

Perez said aquasilvi fishers may choose to raise fish for their own consumption and sell the excess. They may also consolidate their catch with other aquasilvi fishers and sell their harvest to institutional buyers and markets.

“What is significant about this program is that government money will directly benefit fishermen and their families, create more job opportunities, and importantly result to improving and protecting our aquatic resources,” Perez said. (DA/RJB/JCP-PIA NCR)

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