Fisherfolk wants LLDA anti-fish pen resolution revised

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Fisherfolk wants LLDA anti-fish pen resolution revised

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Laguna de Bay fishers call for the rehabilitation of Laguna de Bay

Manila, Philippines – Responding from the sentiments of the Laguna de Bay fishers that small fish cages and fish traps (baklad) will not be spared from the government’s campaign against wide-fish pens in the 90-thousand hectares brackish lake, the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) demands the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) to revise its Board Resolution 518.

The Board Resolution No. 518 Series of 2017 was approved on February 1, 2017 in accordance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to dismantle vast-tracts of fish pens in Laguna de Bay for the utilization of small and municipal fisherfolk. The Board Resolution states that wide-fish pens, fish cages and fish corrals will be dismantled to restore the lake.

The campaign against wide fish pens was lauded by the small fisherfolk from Laguna de Bay because this will bring back their common fishing grounds that were monopolized by big-aquaculture firms and individuals for years. However, they also fear that even small fish cages and fish traps/corrals known as baklad that are owned by small fisherfolk will be demolished.

In a press conference on January, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Gina Lopez has assured that small-scale fisherfolk will be protected from Laguna Lake fish pens clearing operations. Even during the dialogue with DENR Undersecretary Ipat Luna with the Laguna de Bay fishers on February 13 said that the agency will prioritize those corporate-owned wide fish pens and will spare fish traps/corrals.

We reiterate our ardent support with the government’s anti-fish pen campaign. Although both the LLDA and the DENR have verbally assured us that small fish cages and baklad will be spared, we can’t relieve our worry because it is written in the board resolution itself that all enclosed structures, whether large or small will be ejected. We also fear that shanties and houses situated on top of the lake will be categorized as ‘other structures’ that is included in the resolution” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.

PAMALAKAYA said the LLDA Board Resolution should specify only those corporate-owned fish pens measuring 50 hectares and above. ###

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