By Ma. Teresa Montemayor

SUSTAINABLE FISHING. Locals from Caramoran town catch fish at the Hitoma Lake in Catanduanes in this undated photo. The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Bicol was earlier recognized for its successful implementation of the Balik Sigla sa Ilog at Lawa (BASIL) Program for promoting sustainable fishing practices and conserving aquatic resources. (Photo from BFAR-Bicol’s Facebook page)

MANILA – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is set to provide fisherfolk with different sources of livelihood this year as the implementation of the Philippine Fisheries and Coastal Resiliency Project is in full swing.

The project, which cost PHP11 billion, was approved and launched last year. It was approved by the Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank on May 30, 2023.

“Magpapatayo po tayo ng mga infrastructures katulad ng mga cold storage facilities and, of course, iyong mga may climate resilient technology (We will build infrastructures like cold storage facilities and, of course, those with climate resilient technology),” BFAR Fisherfolk Coordination Unit Head Nazario Briguera said in a Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon interview on Wednesday.

“Pakikinabangan po ito ng mahigit sa isang milyon na mga mangingisda sa (this will be beneficial to more than one million fisherfolks in) 24 provinces and 11 regions.”

Briguerra added that BFAR is centered on the Fisheries Life Development Project which is divided into capture fisheries, aquaculture, and post-harvest.

For capture fisheries, he reported that the national government was able to provide modern equipment — 22 units of 62-footer fishing boats — for municipal fisherfolk last year.

“Ang isang unit po nito ay puwedeng sumakay ang 30 na fisherfolk, na mga municipal fisherfolk. So, ang layunin po natin ay mas mabigyan natin ng kakayahan ang ating mga maliliit na mangingisda na makapalaot sa mas malayo at mas makahuli ng mas maraming isda (One unit can carry 30 fisherfolks. The goal is to capacitate our small fishermen to go farther
and catch more fish),” he said.

Meantime, the country’s aquaculture is focused on the provision of food security, Briguerra said, even as he reported that 293 million fingerlings were produced last year.

This shows the increased sufficiency level of sperms or fingerlings for fish farmers which results in continued fisheries production, he said.

Last year, 22 fully operational, community-based hatcheries were built. These facilities provide fish farmers enough access to fingerlings for bigger opportunities to increase fisheries production.

Currently, there are two million registered fisherfolks in the country.

On the average, a municipal fisherfolk earns PHP10,000 to PHP15,000 per month.

Briguera said this monthly income is subject to change depending on the season and situation of the seas. (PNA)