Monday, 6 February 2012

Mambulao seeks fish port facilities

      A fishing boat cruises the water of Mambulao Bay on its way to the shore. Fish  
      catch from the bay has dwindled due to overfishing and the loss of marine 
      breeding grounds such as mangrove areas and coral reefs. – MWBuzzpic by 

MAYOR Ricarte Padilla said he is doing his best to have a municipal fish port built in the municipality to boost local fisheries and improve the income of subsistence fishermen.

Padilla told MWBuzz that Jose Panganiban “might this time be included” among the coastal municipalities where new fish port facilities would rise, courtesy of the Department of Agriculture (DA() under a P1.9 billion major initiatives to boost fish harvest around the country.

“Baka makasama na ang JP (Jose Panganiban) sa request natin for a municipal fish port … let’s keep our fingers crossed,” he said in message to MWBuzz on Facebook.

Padilla had earlier requested DA to build fish port facilities in Mambulao to attract commercial fishing operators to land their catch here.

Although Mambulao is listed by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) as a municipal fish port among 27 in entire Bicol region, there has been no actual infrastructure to show.

On December 6, 1955, BFAR designated the barrio of Parang as fish landing site and had become active until the late 60s when dozens of medium-sized fishing boats called “basnig” landed their catch at Parang beach, which were bought by fish traders (viajeros) from different areas of the province.

Under DA’s program, a municipal fish port would have post-harvest infra-structure like landing docks, trading shed and fish stalls, ice making plant, cold storage warehouse, wastes-water treatment plant, alongside an administrative staff to run the facility.

One advantage of adequate post-harvest facilities such as ice plants and cold storage is that fish catch could be sold at better prices to fish traders.

Right now, catch by local subsistence fishermen are sold immediately at the town market and leftovers are either processed into “dried fish” and fish sauce (bagoong), thus commanding lower prices.

New fish ports facilities and various projects to boost municipal fisheries activities are among those that will get funding under the P1.9 billion fishery development program.

The operation of a fish port in Mambulao would compete with that of Mercedes, an established fish port in the province where major fishing boats dock to unload catch.

An earlier study on the modernization of municipal fish ports found that the setting up of a municipal fish port would lead to a fierce competition for fish catch between subsistence municipal fishermen and commercial fishing operators.

Although Mambulao has a 15km fishing grounds starting from the municipal shore exclusively for its small fishermen, many commercial operators have been found to operate within this territory.

The municipal government, however, said that illegal fishing activities have been minimized after the “Bantay-Dagat” patrol began monitoring fishing activities within the municipal fishing grounds.

Last year, DA provided Mambulao with “Bantay-Dagat” gear that included a patrol boat and monitoring devices.

Over the past 10 year, fish catch from Mambulao’s fishing grounds has dwindled due to overfishing and the loss of marine breeding grounds such as mangrove areas and coral reefs.
Mangrove areas in Mambulao have been deforested by firewood and charcoal makers while coral reef areas have been destroyed by fishermen using explosives.

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