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PIA Press Release
2010/03/25

BFAR releases P11-M for Zamboanga Peninsula vs El Niņo

Dipolog City (25 March) -- The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has allotted more than P11 million for region 9 to cushion the impact of the dry spell wrought by El Niņo weather phenomenon upon the fishery sector in the area.

In a joint Provincial Development Council (PDC), Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) and Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC) meeting on Wednesday, BFAR National Director Malcom Sarmiento Jr. disclosed that the amount would be used to provide alternative livelihood projects to affected families in the fishery sector more particularly the small fishermen.

Sarmiento said that out of the total amount of P11,003,750.00, Zamboanga del Norte would get P3.8 million, Zamboanga del Sur P1.8 million, Zamboanga Sibugay P2.5 million and Isabela City P0.9 million.

A number of families who live on gathering and selling shellfish lost their income when the BFAR had imposed a ban on shellfish gathering from Murciellagos Bay along the provinces of Zamboanga del Norte and Misamis Occidental, and Makilas Bay in Pagadian City due to red tide contamination.

Sarmiento attributed the occurrence of red tide toxins to "the changing condition of climate." According to the BFAR chief the unpredictable pattern of weather may alter the migratory paths and spawning pattern of fishes. It may also destroy the corals.

"Dead corals emit deadly toxin which is the cause of a foodborne illness called ciguatera," explained Sarmiento.

Ciguatera is caused by eating reef fishes whose flesh is contaminated with toxins. The toxins move up the food chain when the coral algae and seaweed are eaten by herbivorous fish which are in turn eaten by carnivorous fish.

In a related development, BFAR has issued three patrol boats to the provincial government of Zamboanga del Norte, city government of Dipolog and to third district representative Cesar Jalosjos to help curb illegal fishing activities in the area.

BFAR has also disclosed that another patrol will be issued soon to the provincial government. (PIA-ZN) [top]

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