PAMALAKAYA rejects BFAR’s National Mariculture Program
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Friday expressed its opposition on the proposed National Mariculture Program (NMP) which aims to establish mariculture parks and zones in duly designated areas located within the municipal waters.
Mariculture refers to an integrated branch of aquaculture designed to produce and culture fish through sea cages, long lines and other culture structures in marine and coastal areas.
In a statement, PAMALAKAYA said mariculture parks will further the privatization and corporate take-over of our fishing waters and marine resources at the expense of the communal fishing grounds of municipal and subsistent fisherfolk.
The fisherfolk group cited Laguna de Bay as a living proof of how giant local and foreign fishing firms have taken over of our fishing waters, where almost 60% of the total size of the 90-thousand hectare brackish lake are currently occupied by vast-tracts of fish pens and fish cages owned by few fish-firms and powerful individuals, leaving the small fishers huddle over the small fishing waters left.
The fisherfolk group refutes the claim of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) that mariculture will ensure food security to the population while protecting the aquatic resources. PAMALAKAYA said aquacultures often result to siltation, fish kill and other marine ecological disruption like the depletion of fish catch due to chemical feeds used in culturing fish.
Mariculture does not also guarantee local food security because of its present export-oriented production where export-based marine species like seaweeds and prawn are the main products of aquaculture.
“The fisherfolk have been opposing for years the establishment of vast aquaculture structures on our fishing waters because it promotes privatization rather than developing our common fishing grounds through rehabilitation. Aquaculture is also no protection but will pose risk on marine environment through artificial feeds,”
“Aquaculture is anti-local production because it promotes culturing of export-based marine products instead of fostering our traditional fish product for our domestic consumption to ensure food security in the country,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
The NMP is introduced by Batangas 6th District Representative Vilma Santos-Recto through House Bill No. 2178 and is currently in the Technical Working Group (TWG) created by the House Committee on Aquaculture and Fisheries Resources. BFAR and Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) are part of the TWG. ###