PHILIPPINES - The Department of Agriculture (DA) has set up temporary livelihood alternatives, including mangrove planting, for fishing communities facing loss of income due to El Niño.
As the government reported P3.32 billion in damage to all crops, livestock, and fisheries caused by the dry spell from February to August, the DA has readied a targeted intervention prioritizing the worst-hit fisherfolk, BusinessWorldOnline reports.
Forty-one provinces will be affected by El Niño which can put a strain on aquaculture, according to Undersecretary for Fisheries Asis G. Perez.
“If you cannot fish and there’s no aquaculture in the area, then you can plant mangroves. The government has money to support mangrove planting, for instance, and so that way, you’re able to mitigate the adverse economic impact of this phenomenon.”
The DA’s El Niño Action Plan released to reporters this month puts the fisheries aid budget at P12.22 million out of a total P2.06 billion requested.
Fish health management, and the monitoring of water quality and fish stocks in brackish water and freshwater areas (fish ponds, fish cages, and fish pens) were part of the budget proposal.
However, Mr Perez assured that damage to aquaculture will be less severe compared to previous El Niño episodes due to a shift over the years in favor of sea-based aquaculture.
“Before, all our aquaculture is done on land, but if you move this to the sea, then you actually solve the problem of loss of water because even with the El Niño phenomenon, the sea will not dry out,” he said.
The DA has said that 80 per cent of the country will likely be experiencing drought by February 2016.
The state weather forecaster Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical & Astronomical Services Association (PAGASA) said El Niño could last until the second quarter of 2016, and is potentially one of the four worst episodes since 1950.
TheFishSite News Desk