Provide aid to the El Nino affected small fishers, BFAR urged
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) on Friday urged the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to provide adequate economic support to the municipal fisherfolk who are affected by the El Nino phenomenon.
According to BFAR, 100, 000 fisherfolk throughout the archipelago are affected by the El Nino. The volume of fish catch in 15-kilometer municipal waters might also decrease by 279, 000 tons or 23 percent of the annual volume fish catch.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) had warned the severe strength resulting to prolonged drought the El Nino phenomenon would bring this year.
Meanwhile, Pamalakaya urged the BFAR to mobilize its 2016 budget for the mitigation of the impact of the prolonged drought and for the rehabilitation and direct support to the El Nino-stricken-fisherfolk in the country.
The BFAR has P6.7B allotted fund for 2016 which according to them, majority of their budget is for combatting their so-called “illegal, unregulated and unreported” (IUU) fishing or for the implementation of the amended fisheries code.
But Pamalakaya told the bureau that instead of spending the huge chunk of the budget for the implementation of the fisheries code, it would much better to use it to address the El Nino and other weather phenomenon that causes ecological disturbances to the marine ecology that adversely affecting the livelihoods of the fishers.
The BFAR should also provide a significant and concrete support to the fisherfolk that will modernize their backward fishing gear and technology so they can cope up with the inconstant climate and to uplift their impoverished conditions.
The fisherfolk group said the prolonged dry-spell is causing massive fish kills and red tide in the archipelago. The fisherfolk group cited the current red-tide in several coastal waters in Visayas and Mindanao. The coastal waters on the said provinces had been affected by paralytic shellfish poison affecting the lives of thousands of fisherfolk and local residences whose sources of livelihood are dependent on farming, harvesting, transporting and marketing of shellfish and other red tide prone-marine resources.
“Thousands of El Nino-affected fishers are in dire need of support aid to resume their production and mitigate the devastating impact of this extreme heat besetting the country. We assert to BFAR Director Asis Perez to immediately provide genuine economic aid to the El Nino affected-fisherfolk instead of squandering those millions of people’s funds for the construction of patrol and monitoring boats that are no significant help to the fishers.” Salvador France, Pamalakaya vice-chairperson said.
Pamalakaya demands to prioritize the support to the municipal fishers who catch fish for local and domestic consumption to ensure the food stability and sustainability in the country instead of providing millions to the commercial fishers that are based on export. ###