Laguna de Bay
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.
Laguna lake fishers, advocates picketed LLDA, DENR to demand rapid fish-pen
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) together with environmental alliance Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) on Monday staged a picket in the offices of the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to demand the immediate and unconditional dismantling of wide fish pens owned by large corporations and individuals in Laguna de Bay.
Vast-tracts of fish pens in the 90-thousand-hectare brackish lake are now illegal after the government ceases from issuance of permits in line with its campaign to dismantle fish pens in Laguna de Bay to give way for the utilization of small fishers who have been deprived of their common fishing grounds for years due to fish pen proliferation and congestion.
Conservative data from the LLDA shows that there are approximately 13,000 hectares of private fish pens situated in Laguna de Bay. But deeper study conducted by PAMALAKAYA and SLLM claims that 60% of the size of Laguna de Bay is currently occupied by private fish pens.
PAMALAKAYA and SLLM welcome the government’s anti-fish pen campaign, but said it should be done hastily for the small fishers eagerly await their fishing zone to be reopened again for common use.
Spare ‘baklad’, small fish cages from demolition – fisherfolk group
Manila, Philippines – The fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) told the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DERN) and the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) to exclude ‘baklad’ or fish traps owned and operated by municipal fishermen from the government’s campaign against enclosed fish pen and fish cages in Laguna de Bay.
The moratorium of fish pen permit in Laguna de Bay starts this year in accordance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to dismantle vast-tract of fish pens in the 90-thousand hectare brackish lake for the utilization of small fishermen who have long been deprived of their communal fishing grounds due to fish pen proliferation.
‘Baklad’ is a kind of fish trap used by small fishers to capture fish and other marine species. Some small fishers in Laguna de Bay have resort to building ‘baklad’ because open fishing is not that suitable due to fish catch depletion caused by gradual deterioration of the lake. Nowadays, the average fish catch in Laguna de Bay is 2-3 kilos per day compared to 10-15 kilos per day before the lake deteriorates.