The municipal chapter of the group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas in Lemery, Batangas on Sunday lamented a two-month fishing ban in Balayan Bay, saying it would affect thousands of fisherfolk from seven municipalities situated along the bay.
The ban will take effect on November 19.
“Yearly, we are devastated by this closed season for the two months of not being able to fish is equivalent to two months of not able to eat,” said Rico Mortel, spokesperson of Pamalakaya’s Samahan ng Mangingisda sa Baybayin ng Lemery.
“It is so ironic that this is the season of giving, but we are deprived of our basic economic right which is our right to livelihood and to have at least simple feast with our family on Christmas and New Year’s Eve,” Mortel added.
The two-month closed season in Balayan Bay is imposed every year since 2014 to rehabilitate depleting marine resources due to overfishing.
Mortel said every time the fish ban is imposed, affected fisherfolk are not offered any alternative livelihood by the government while commercial fishing fleets with high-tech fishing gears are still allowed to operate.
“BFAR’s closed season campaign is an open declaration of war against our small fisherfolk while providing tenderness to the big commercials ones. Under the guise of rehabilitation and conservation of marine resources, BFAR unconditionally prevents municipal fisherfolk from fishing in their traditional fishing grounds while turning a blind eye into large commercial fishing fleets’ irreverent entry into the declared fishing ban in the municipal waters,” Pamalakaya chairman Fernando Hicap said.