AGRICULTURE Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the fishery sector of Pangasinan will be tapped as an alternative source of fish supplies for Metro Manila as fish pens in Laguna de Bay will be dismantled by 2018.
Piñol recently visited the Fisherman’s Center of the newly-completed wharf and causeway in Sual, Pangasinan to meet local fisherfolk and local leaders of Pangasinan and La Union.
“To fill the big gap on the needs from the urban areas, Sual and the province of Pangasinan will definitely come into play because of its strategic location and its reputation for high quality produce,” Piñol said.
“When you say Dagupan bangus, people love it. Even foreigners look for it because it made its name not only here but also abroad,” added Piñol.
Piñol encouraged fisherfolk in Pangasinan and La Union to come up with a roadmap for the fisheries sector so that the government can provide the assistance needed.
“These face-to-face dialogues enable the government to come up with appropriate solutions,” Piñol said.
During the consultation, the DA also awarded P54 million worth of fishery projects to the fisherfolk of Pangasinan and La Union.
Turned over were 381 units of fishing gears and 70 new fiberglass-reinforced plastic boats to over 500 fisherfolk beneficiaries from the said provinces.
“This is part of the 700 boats with implements to be granted to the 14 coastal towns of Pangasinan,” Piñol said.
A total of 10 Community Fish Landing Centers (CFLCs) were also awarded to 10 local government units, while local budgeting projects for a fish port, mariculture park, and another CLFC were awarded to the LGUs of Agoo, Anda, and Infanta.
Following the confirmation of illegal fishing activities in the whole of Region I, Piñol offered the fisherfolks livelihood programs and interventions in exchange of a commitment to stop illegal fishing activities.
“We will also set up other income-generating activities to compensate for your livelihood during nil season,” Piñol said.
“It’s either you take my offer of providing you livelihood programs which will also ensure that good catch will be available for everyone or gamble with illegal fishing activities and suffer the consequences of violating the law,” Piñol added.