Fish caging ventures in Samal City hailed a great success
Davao City (20 February) -- Life for local fishermen in 31 coastal barangays in the Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS), a component city of Davao del Norte province, has never been the same again since August 10, 2001, when the P10-million Samal Mariculture Park, touted as an" industrial park on sea" was formally inaugurated.
Rogelio Adel, a local fisherman who used to go out in the open seas to hunt for fish, now works at the Sonshine Philippines Movement's fish cage, one of the nine locators at the Mariculture Park.
He said life is far better now because he has a more secure, more sustainable livelihood as a fish cage caretaker for five years now.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) noted that fish catch at the Davao Gulf continued to decline due to overfishing, marine pollution, loss of marine habitat and destructive fishing methods.
The first of its kind in the Philippines and was named among Asia's best projects, the Island Garden City of Samal Mariculture Park, located in sitio Leydao, Kaputian District, provides jobs to fisherfolks who have become fish farmers.
The 224-hectare facility was conceptualized by the local government in cooperation with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and the Southeast Asian Development Center, to promote mariculture as a major livelihood for coastal fisherfolks, develop large-scale privately operated cage culture project; and provide appropriate infrastructure and equipment and favorable investment climate for efficient cage culture operations.
Leonil Palumar, a retired policeman who is married to a native of the island, invested his retirement pay in fish caging business and is happy with his venture.
Palumar said "I started with only one fish cage five years ago. Now, I have 10 fish cages and I have plans to expand my business." Fish caging is very promising as his milkfish or bangus harvests are exported to the U.S, he added.
The Mariculture Park is divided into four areas of 50 hectares each, allocated for the BFAR R&D Area, Large Scale Investors, Medium Scale Investors and Small Scale Investors with 24 hectares of navigational lanes.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will visit tomorrow the Mariculture Park here and will be given a briefing on the fish caging facilities and business opportunities by Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, BFAR Director Malcolm Sarmiento, Jr. and BFAR Regional Director George Campeon. (PIA) [top]