A FISHERFOLK organization said the government must declare municipal fishing grounds for the exclusive use of small fishermen, and bar the encroachment of reclamation projects, particularly around Manila Bay.
“Apart from modernization, we need to fight for the exclusive rights of our small fishers in their communities. What is the point of modern technology and equipment if our fishermen cannot make use of this because their fishing grounds are taken over by reclamation projects?” Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) National Spokesperson Ronnel S. Arambulo said in a statement.
Mr. Arambulo said reclamation projects around Manila Bay currently number 50 or so.
“These projects do not only destroy the marine ecosystem, but displace small fisherfolks from their fishing community,” he said.
“Our fishermen do not get any protection from the government against these reclamation projects. These have a big effect on the degradation of our environment,” he added.
PAMALAKAYA said that marine municipal and inland municipal fisheries accounted for 26.2% of fisheries production in the second quarter, citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
The PSA estimates the number of registered municipal fisherfolk at 2 million.
“If we can just give our small fisherman the right protection and support, we can see a huge boost in the sustainability of fisheries production. The government must look (to protect) the exclusive rights of fishermen,” Mr. Arambulo said. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson