Laguna de Bay
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.
Fishpen demolition won’t lead to food insecurity, conversion will
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Tuesday clarified that the campaign to demolish vast-tracts of fish pens in Laguna de Bay will not affect the food security in the country as long as it would be followed by a proper rehabilitation of the lake that would bring back its natural ecology.
The government through Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Gina Lopez is leading a national campaign to liberate the 90-thousand hectare brackish lake from private and corporate-owned fish pens. This is in accordance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to let small fisherfolk maximize and benefit from the lake, whom for years have been deprived of their communal fishing grounds due to fish pen proliferation.
Several fish pen structures have been ejected since January including the Gozon-owned fish pens in Cardona, Rizal measuring 100 hectares.
The fisherfolk group seen this campaign as a welcomed development for the restoration of Laguna de Bay for it will initially unwind the lake from further degradation caused by chemical-based pellet feeds use in culturing fish. Read the rest of this entry »
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.
Laguna lake fishers laud recent fish-pen demolitions, urge for speedy removal of vast
Manila, Philippines – The Laguna lake chapter of the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) together with the environment alliance Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) laud the recent demolition of several corporate-owned fish pens in the 90-thousand hectares brackish lake.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) spearheaded the two series of demolitions of wide fish pens on January 27 and February 24 where 3 fish pen structures covering 50 hectares each and 1 fish pen covering 25 hectares were dismantled, namely the two Gozon-owned fish pens in Cardona, Rizal, the Seven Eleven Fishing Corporation and the Habagat Multipurpose Cooperative in Binangonan, Rizal respectively.
PAMALAKAYA said so far, no small fish cages and fish traps/corals (baklad) have been subject to ejectment but they reiterate their call to spare those small fish structures owned by small fisherfolk and some fisherfolk cooperatives because it serves as their alternative livelihood to open fishing since the latter is not sustainable enough due to dwindling of fish catch.
Fisheries Code legalizes rise of aquaculture – fisherfolk group
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Wednesday blamed the Fisheries Code of 1998 for the proliferation of privately-owned vast aquacultures in the Philippine waters.
Corporate takeover of the country’s fishing waters is done through the Fisheries Code’s Foreshore and Fishpond Lease Agreement (FLA) which allows an individual to lease and occupy up to 50 hectares of fishing waters, while commercial fishing firms up to 250 hectares for 25 years and renewable for another 25 years.
Citing Laguna de Bay as an example, the fisherfolk group said the 90-thousand hectares brackish lake has been occupied by vast-tracts of fish pens for years depriving small fisherfolk of their common fishing resources.
“Nothing has to blame but this 19-year old fisheries law for the proliferation of wide aquacultures in our fishing waters. The growing number of aquacultures in the Philippine waters causes overcrowding, exploitation and pollution of our rich fishing grounds. The granting of foreshore and fishpond lease contracts to big aquaculture firms must stop,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.