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P24.5 Million for Fishery Projects in ARMM

17 April 2012

PHILIPPINES - The Department of Agriculture (DA) through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) has provided P24.5 million in fishery and livelihood projects, benefiting thousands of fisherfolk families and their respective island-municipalities in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

“The DA-BFAR investment of P24.53 million was matched by almost the same amount by our ARMM local government units, either in the form of material or labour counterpart,” Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said in a statement.

The DA-BFAR partnership with ARMM and its LGUs is providing sustainable livelihood and income to more than a thousand fisher-families, Mr Alcala said.

For his part, DA-BFAR director Asis G. Perez said the amount included the provision of motor engines to 67 patrol boats for the ‘Bantay-Dagat’ program to protect ARMM municipal waters from illegal fishermen and poachers.

Of the total P24.5 million, more than half or P12.9 million was used to procure 16 units of non-motorized banca, 15 motor engines, 10 fish driers, 2,500 fish pots, and 250 units of gill nets which were distributed to about a thousand fisher-families along the 288,000-hectare Liguasan Marsh, which is bounded by three provinces (Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat).

Mr Perez said the DA-BFAR plans to develop a portion of Liguasan Marsh into a center for freshwater fish biodiversity, said Director Perez. Tilapia is one of more than a dozen freshwater species found in Liguasan. It also supports endemic flora and fauna that include 92 species of birds, six species of reptiles, and five species of amphibians, among others.

Another P8.8 million was allotted for an aquasilviculture program that included the establishment of five multi-species hatcheries (P6 million), mangrove rehabilitation (P1.4 million), and setting up of 20 aquasilviculture techno-demo farms (P1.36 million).

To date, Mr Perez said the DA-BFAR and ARMM LGUs have jointly planted 225,000 mangrove propagules, worth P1.4 million. The agency also partnered with five state universities and colleges (SUCs) to jointly establish multi-species hatcheries. They include Basilan State College, and at four Mindanao State University (MSU) campuses in Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao, and Marawi City.

Finally, about P2.8 million was allotted for two units of ice-maker equipment, 12 sets of seaweeds farm inputs, 200 kilos of seaweed seedlings, and other fishing paraphernalia (P2.175 million), and 2.4 million pieces of fingerlings.

Mr Perez said with the infusion of investment by the Aquino government through the DA-BFAR that is matched by beneficiary LGUs, the potential of further increasing ARMM’s fishery and aquaculture remains high.

In 2011, the region produced 909,320 metric tons (MT) of fishery and aquaculture products, valued at P14.58 billion at current prices, according to the DA’s Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS). The volume represents 18.3 per cent of the country’s total production, at 4.98 million MT.

The ARMM remains as the country’s top seaweed producer. Last year, it harvested 686,450 MT valued at P4.3B, which represents 37 per cent of the country’s total seaweed output, at 1.84 million MT worth P11.39 billion, according to the BAS.

Early this year, Perez said the DA-BFAR conducted a regional consultation in Zamboanga City on a proposed “Fish for Peace” program in Mindanao, attended by LGU officials who all agreed on the program’s concept. They included Governors Jum Akbar of Basilan, Abdusakur Tan of Sulu, and Sadikul Sahali of Tawi-Tawi, Sulu 2nd District Representative Nur-Ana Sahidula, and 32 municipal mayors of Sulu (15 chief executives), Basilan (11 chief executives), and Tawi-Tawi (six chief executives).

The “Fish for Peace” program aims to effect sustainable fisheries development in Mindanao through the implementation of environment-friendly livelihood projects, and fishery and marine conservation measures.

TheFishSite News Desk

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