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.
Fisherfolk group demands aid to the zero-fishpen-affected fishworkers
Manila, Philippines – While it supports the government’s campaign to reopen the 90-thousand hectare-Laguna de Bay to small fisherfolk by dismantling vast-tracts of fish pens, the national fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) calls for immediate support to the fish workers employed in the corporate-owned fish pens that will be affected by the demolition of aquaculture structures.
PAMALAKAYA in a statement said those workers were once subsistence and small fishers that were forced to work in corporate-aquacultures due to fish catch depletion in open waters and lack of sufficient fishing gears. Workers in aquaculture are usually stay-in caretakers; they are the ones who maintain the structures, feeding until the harvesting of fish.
The fisherfolk group urges the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to determine the exact numbers of fish workers and fisherfolk directly involved in the aquaculture sector and mobilize immediate economic aid and relief to those who will be affected by the campaign.
Fishing restrictions, commercial intrusion impair municipal fish output – group
Manila, Philippines – Due to irreverent intrusion of large scale commercial fishing vessels within the municipal fishing waters plus the baseless declaration of fishing restrictions, municipal fishing production slows down according to the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Tuesday.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) has recently released its Fisheries Situationer 2016 which shows that municipal fisheries output was reduced by 6.47 percent with the volume of 1.14 million metric tons during the said year.
In a statement, PAMALAKAYA said the loss of municipal fish output is mainly cause by the entry of giant fishing fleets weighing 3 gross tons and above within the 15-kilometer municipal fishing zone that is allotted for the municipal fishers.
Fisherfolk wants moratorium on boat and fish registration scheme
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) calls for a temporary suspension of some of the provisions on the amended Fisheries Code of 1998 or Republic Act 10654, particularly the Boat Registration (BoatR) and Fisherfolk Registration (FishR), one of the new highlights in the amended Fisheries Code. The fisherfolk group said this is another burden for the small fisherfolk who barely earn enough to sustain their families’ daily expenses.
The BoatR, according to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is designed to fast-track and complete the nationwide fishing vessels registration with capacity of three gross tons (GT) and below while the FishR aims to register fisherfolk in the country to come up with a national database system.
Pamalakaya said under the BoatR and FishR, fisherfolk register their fishing boats and gears and even themselves to their respective municipal government annually with corresponding fees.
In a statement, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson Fernando Hicap, which is also a fisherman in Rosario, Cavite said he has paid at least P5, 000 for the registration of his fishing boat and other gears.
“This registration scheme is ridiculous and absurd. Why would the government require the fisherfolk and even their fishing gears to get registered? Fishing sector is the poorest in the country; they bear the brunt of commercial fishing proliferation and the decreasing income due to decreasing fish catch in the municipal fishing waters. What they need is concrete government support and aid, not another hefty fees and taxes,” Hicap said.
Hicap said this registration scheme is prone to corruption to local government and even officials.
“Local government units are empowered to impose exorbitant fees and regressive taxation in accordance with the Fisheries Code. Even before the registration scheme, fisherfolk were already paying different taxes and fees and it has become the milking cow and money making scheme of some local and national government officials,”
The fisherfolk group is gearing on a nationally coordinated protest on the 19th year anniversary of the Fisheries Code of 1998 on February 24 to call for the abrogation of the said law and push for a new and genuine fisheries reform law that will truly benefor the interest of the small fisherfolk. ###
Danish Seines continue to encroach in Western Visayas – fisherfolk
Panay, Capiz – The provincial chapter of the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) in Capiz said that Danish seines fishing are still operational within the municipal waters of Roxas, City despite the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) order to ban the Danish Seine (hulbot-hulbot) and modified Danish Seine (buli-buli) in the Philippine waters.
Danish Seine and its modified form are active fishing gears often used in commercial fishing. It consists of a conical net with a pair of wings, the ends of which are connected to a rope embedded with buri, plastic strips, sinkers or other similar materials to serve as scaring or herding device hauled through a mechanical winch or by manpower.
The Danish Seine has been prohibited since September 2013 through Fisheries Administrative Order (FAO) 246 which seeks the nationwide ban of hulbot-hulbot and buli-buli in the country.
But fisherfolk from Roxas, City said around 20 Danish Seine fishing fleets persistently enter even the 15-kilometer municipal fishing zone that is allotted for the small-scale and subsistence fisherfolk.
Out of the blue, Filipino fishers trooped BFAR, DENR on the occasion of World Fisheries Day
Manila, Philippines – On the occasion of the World Fisheries Day, fisherfolk from different regions under the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) yesterday trooped the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to protest their current situation under the existing fisheries laws and programs imposed by the said government agencies.
On 19-21 of November, fisherfolk leaders from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao gathered in Quezon City on a three-day National Fish Consultation on Coastal Resource Management to share their respective local issues and struggles in their fishing communities. Based on the issues shared by the delegates, widespread reclamation and conversion of fishing waters are prevalent all over the country. Also, they lamented the adverse effects of the amended Fisheries Code in their livelihood.
According to them, exorbitant fees and taxes are imposed even to the smallest fisherfolk who can’t even gain a sustainable income on a daily basis. Amended fisheries code does not actually prohibit commercial fishing vessels to go within the 15-kilometer municipal fishing zones but rather it further the corruption among the enforcers and local government units.
BFAR greets Batangas fishers with Unmerry Christmas
Lemery, Batangas – The municipal chapter of the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) in Lemery, Batangas laments the 2-month fishing ban in Balayan Bay that will start on November 19 to December, saying it would affect thousands of fisherfolk from 7 municipalities situated along the bay.
The 2-month closed season in Balayan Bay is imposed every year since 2014 under the provision of the Fisheries Code of 1998 to declare closed season in order to rehabilitate the marine resources now depleting due to overfishing.
Batangas fisherfolk said the fish ban is now on its third year and it consecutively affects the livelihood of the thousands of fisherfolk who depends on Balayan Bay on a day to day basis. Every time the fish ban is imposed, not even alternative livelihood or economic subsidies are offered to the affected fisherfolk, making their families hungry and suffer for the whole Christmas season.
“Yearly, we are devastated by this closed season for the two months of not able to fish is equivalent to two months of not able to eat. So ironic that this is the season of giving but we are deprived of our basic economic right which is our right to livelihood and to have at least simple feast with our family on Christmas and New Year’s Eve,” Rico Mortel, Spokesperson of PAMALAKAYA’s Samahan ng Mangingisda sa Baybayin ng Lemery (SAMBAL) said in a statement.