CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources here in Northern Mindanao said there is just enough fish supply in the region, most of which is highly dependent on the supply from Zamboanga peninsula.
BFAR regional Director Teoduro Bacolod Jr. in a media briefing Tuesday afternoon, said the region is not dependent on the catch of fisherfolk from the region. “We have supply from other regions like Zamboanga and General Santos, with support from catch in the region,” Bacolod said.
Data from the National Economic Development Authority in Region 10 showed the region produced 32,719.34 metric tons of fish in the first quarter of 2018, a 2.4-percent drop in production compared to the first quarter of 2017.
Bacolod clarified that he could not provide data on how much fish is enough, ample or abundant that the region consumes or needs.
“We cannot really see now how much do we really need and there are many factors on why the dwindling supply of fish. What we can say is that we are ready if Zamboanga cannot supply us,” he said.
Bacolod blamed overfishing and pollution as the main factors on the dwindling supplies of fish in the region.
“Pollutants from industries, mining and loss of forest covers are some of the factors,” he added.
BFAR has released tens of millions of tilapia fingerlings in different rivers in Northern Mindanao to augment the needed fish.
“In Cagayan de Oro alone, we have seeded around 10 million tilapia along Iponan and Cagayan de Oro Rivers and Tagoloan river in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental,” Bacolod said, adding that seedings are done every year.
BFAR also developed aquaculture marine parks in Northern Mindanao—one in Balingasag, Misamis Oriental, another in Jimenez, Misamis Occidental, and one in Sultan Naga Dimaporo in Lanao del Norte, Bacolod said.
The bureau has been developing fishermen in the region, providing them with intervention to compete the commercial fishers.
But the sustainability of BFARs projects are also put into question, as Bacolod admitted that some fishermen, after getting help from the government, are quick to sold the fishing supplies they have provided.
BFAR have distributed fiberglass motorized bancas complete with fishing gear, but some of these were sold by the fishermen the moment they were turned over to them.
Bacolod laments that lack of hard work by fisherfolk, and those who do, do not follow laws, catching even fingerlings that should have been released back into the waters.
BFAR has sought the assistance of the local government units to help monitor these banca that should only be used for fishing activities within the municipal waters.
They have confiscated 3 bancas this year from fishermen for various offenses.
To augment fish supply in the region, Bacolod said that aquamarine parks were developed to raise bangus in seas.
In Balingasag, Misamis Oriental, a 150-hectare aquamarine park is capable of holding 150 fish cages, though not all of these are operational as BFAR would want to avoid fish kills.
Ideally, these aquamarine park should be able to produce 1.870 million kilos of Bangus every 4 months. But even that would not be enough to supply Northern Mindanao, BFAR said.
Bacolod said that the government is hard at work to provide sustainable fish supply while maintaining ecological balance. He also urges LGUs to create their own fishing code within their municipalities and organized fishermen for better fisheries industries.
“Im urging fishermen to do their part in doing sustainable fishing because in the end, it is their livelihood, and I’m also urging LGUs to actively support and implement fishing laws,” Bacolod said.
The bureau has been working hard to develop the municipal waters for sustainable fishing, but it needs all the help it needs to make it work.