Home / Services / Manny Piñol’s Byaheng Bukid Day 10: Protecting the Seas for Next Generation

 
IMAGE from Manny Piñol's Facebook post

IMAGE from Manny Piñol’s Facebook post

{DISCLAIMER: The following post is written by Manny Piñol}

Biyaheng Bukid Day 10
PROTECTING THE SEAS
FOR NEXT GENERATION
By Manny Piñol

The journey to discover the vast potentials of the country in food production brought me and my team to the fishing towns of Carles and Estancia in Iloilo Province Saturday.

What I saw and heard were scenes and testimonies not only of the bounty of the seas but also the risks that this nation faces because of people’s abuse and negligence.

In Carles town, Mayor Siegfredo Betita told me that the catch has been dwindling because of the unabated illegal fishing and the operations of the huge trawlers which deprive small fisherfolks of a bountiful harvest from the seas.

This was validated by Estancia Mayor Rene Cordero.

Illegal fishing, specifically dynamite fishing, has brought about untold woes to the country’s small fishermen.

I also saw for myself the abuse and neglect by people of the waters surrounding their communities. Plastic containers, bottles and other garbage float in the waters fronting the fishing communities.
Ours is one of the very few countries in the world where effective waste disposal seems not to be a major concern in the development of communities.

Another very serious problem confronting the country’s fisherfolks in the municipal waters is the unabated fishing even during the spawning season and the lack of protected marine sanctuaries.
One of the victims of the unabated fishing even during the spawning season is the famous “Pigek” in the mouth of the Tamontaka River in Datu Odin Sinsuat town in Maguindanao Province. Prized for being very tasty and succulent, the “Pigek” has been endlessly fished because of its very high demand in the market.

Today, it is very difficult to buy “Pigek” in huge quantities and it is not remote that this species would be totally decimated unless protective measures are implemented.

The potentials of the country to become a major producer of aquatic and marine products are almost limitless.

The Philippines is ranked No. 5 among the country’s of the world with the longest coastline which is measured at 39,285 kilometers.

In spite of this, the fishing sector has some of the poorest families owing to the neglect of government and its failure to protect the bounty of the seas.

What should be done about this?

I believe that government should give focus and attention to the pervading poverty in the fisheries sector. Unless this is addressed, illegal fishing and unabated fishing even during the spawning season will continue.

In Mindoro, I was told by small fishermen that they do not even own small fishing bancas and that they are just renting from families wo are better off and who could afford to buy bancas.
The communities must be involved. What I have in mind right now is a program similar to the Search for the Cleanest and Greenest Local Government Units in the country which has successfully changed the mindset of people into making sure that their communities are clean and green.

This program which could be called the Annual Search for the Malinis at Masagang Karagatan could be done to involve the community and its people in the effort to safeguard the seas surrounding their communities.

Offhand, the criteria could include the following:

  • A successful campaign against Illegal Fishing.
  • An effective marine and aquatic resources protection strategy through the declaration of a no fishing area and a no fishing area during the spawning season.
  • Cleanliness of the waters surrounding the community marked by the implementation of a sustainable waste disposal system and the absence of plastics floating in the waters.
  • Effective mangrove protection and rehabilitation undertaken with the stakeholders’ participation.
  • Prizes could include a Livelihood Fund for the small fisherfolks, fishing equipment for the fishing families or maybe an ice plant and cold storage to support the local fishing industry.
  • It could also include technology training like sea cucumber farming, similar to what the Australian government is doing to its Aborigines in its Northern Coast, crab fattening or even modern fish drying.

These are just ideas which I have in my mind now.

I am sure that brighter minds could fine-tune these ideas to make the concept workable.
The fundamental issue here is that something must be done to ensure that the future generation will continue to enjoy the bounty of the seas and the blessings which God gave this nation.
(Photos show the seas fronting Carles and Estancia, the catch in both towns and the small fisherfolks in Mindoro Occidental. Photos by Bong Piñol and John Pagaduan)

 

About the author: Baroy

 

Baroy loves to travel around the Philippines. He loves gizmos and toys. He is a social media marketing specialist and also a contributor for Cebu and Davao blog.

 

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