Fisherfolk welcomes seed distribution in Laguna de Bay, calls to pursue fishpen demolition
Manila, Philippines – The national fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Wednesday acknowledged the government’s dispersal of 5 million fingerlings in Laguna de Bay through the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR). The restocking of native fish species in the 90-thousand hectare brackish lake is part of the government’s campaign to rehabilitate inland waters such as lakes and rivers.
In a statement, the fisherfolk group said the seeding in Laguna de Bay is a welcome development for this will temporarily support the livelihood of small fisherfolk and fishworkers who were affected by the government’s campaign to demolish vast tracts of fish pens in the lake.
PAMALAKAYA together with environment alliance Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) raised the demand to distribute fingerlings to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) during the term of its former Secretary Gina Lopez. This is to solve the prevailing problem in the lake of fish catch depletion and to assure the fishworkers who lost livelihood due to fishpen demolition that once they return to open fishing, there will be enough fish to catch.
“We are grateful that the government grants the demand of the fisherfolk for livelihood support. We still call for more fingerling-dispersal drive to convince the fisherfolk to return to traditional mode of fishing instead of being employed in private aquacultures in exchange for paltry allowance,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
WTO fish-subsidy written in blank space – Filipino fisherfolk
Manila, Philippines – Small-scale fisherfolk belonging to the group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) downplays the World Trade Organization (WTO) proposal to cut fisheries subsidies on its member states, saying small and subsistent fisherfolk across the globe have not even felt the subsidies since the free-trade agreement has commenced. The proposal mainly came from the European Union (EU) which seeks to achieve the 2020 targets set out in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
In a statement, the group, which also a member of the across-the-world fishers network World Forum of Fisher Peoples (WFFP), said they didn’t even notice that there is an existing subsidy because it never reaches through them.
“The fishing sector across the globe especially those in the third world countries remain poorest of the poor, this is mainly because of the anti-fishing laws and programs from their respective states, plus the lack of subsidies and government support that will uplift their impoverished lives,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
Hicap said that in the Philippines, the government allots P100 million annually for the modernization of fishing industry under the Fisheries Code of 1998, but said it is actually meant for large-scale commercial fishing corporations instead to the small fisherfolk. That is the reason why fishing sector in the country still remains backward. Citing the data of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), only 32% of fisherfolk in a municipal level owns mechanized boats with only 3-16 horsepower, while 68% still uses backward and primitive fishing gears like paddled boats and fishing rods, some don’t even own any fishing gear at all.
PAMALAKAYA said fisheries subsidy per se has nothing to do with overcapacity and overfishing of our marine resources, the WTO just uses the subsidy wrong. The group instead proposes that the subsidy be converted to the small-scale and subsistent fisherfolk in order to modernize their backward fishing gear and be able to keep pace with the large-scale commercial fishing fleets that exploit the fishing waters allotted for municipal fisherfolk.
The group also lashes out at the European Union (EU) for its misconception on the illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUUF) which leads countries like ours to set stricter fishing rules and regulations which make the small fishers the biggest losers. The requirement of free-trade agreements like the WTO to export tons after tons of fish products to foreign markets fuel these kinds of illegal and unregulated activities in the seas because commercial fishers seem to be on a race to cater the needs of the foreign markets like the European Union.
The fisherfolk group demands genuine and sufficient state-subsidies and support to advance their productivity and to end the long-standing export-oriented local production in order to sustain the country’s food security.
The WTO’s 11th Ministerial Conference will be held in Buenos Aires on December 2017. ###
Fire-affected fishers in Cavite need fishing gears, boats
Bacoor, Cavite – The fisherfolk in Maliksi III, Bacoor, Cavite who were devastated by the fire that hit their fishing community on April 5 now appeal to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to distribute fishing boats and fishing gears so they can return to their livelihood after the fire devastated their houses and other livelihood materials including fishing gears and boats.
The blaze leaves almost 500 families or more than 2,000 individuals homeless.
In a statement, the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) said next to economic relief and aid that the local and national government have distributed to the residents is livelihood support and subsidy to assure that they may be able to return to their source of livelihood and soften the impact of the blaze on their food security.
“We urge the BFAR to mobilize its calamity fund through its boat dispersal program. Making them return to their livelihood will assure that they could also return to their community,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
The fisherfolk group slammed the local government for its response right after the tragedy which offers the residents balik-probinsya program and relocation sites in Naic, Cavite, saying the affected residents don’t want to be removed permanently from their fishing community because it also means taking them out of their livelihood. The local government through Bacoor City Mayor Lani Revilla retracted their statement after they were exposed, saying their offer of balik-probinsya and relocation site are only optional.
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.