Fisheries bureau needs P300M budget for coastal program

THE Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) regional office proposed a P300-million budget for the Coastal Resources Management and Fisheries Improvement Project that will kick off in 2013.

Of the P300 million, P72 million will be used for coastal resource management, P210 million for livelihood and P18 million for project management.

The region has identified Matarinao Bay in Eastern Samar and Silago-Cabalian Bay in Southern Leyte for inclusion in the five-year United Nations (UN)-funded poverty reduction projects in coastal communities, employing ecosystem-based approach.

The project will cover coastal municipalities of General MacArthur, Salcedo, Quinapondan, and Hernani in Eastern Samar for Matarinao Bay; Saint Bernard, Hinundayan, Hinunangan, Silago, Anahawan, and San Juan in Southern Leyte for Silago-Cabalian Bay.

BFAR Regional director Juan Albaladejo said they identified the two bays based on: high poverty incidence, presence of organized fishermen’s group, and the lack of foreign funding in the past.

The fisheries bureau is scheduled to present the proposal to the Regional Development Council (RDC) for endorsement to the National Economic and Development Authority-Investment Coordination Committee (Neda-ICC).

Albadejo said the proposed livelihood activities include seafood trading center, tilapia culture in ponds, mudcrab fattening, seaweed culture, polyculture-siganid-cucumber in pen, village-level post-harvest facility, sailfish fishing, tilapia hatchery, macrobrachium culture in ponds, siganid culture in cage, fish traps, and ecotourism.

The 7,000 hectares Matarinao Bay is prone to red tide, affecting the income of fishermen. Coastal resource management has been challenged with mangrove cutting, weak law enforcement, collection of crablets and sea cucumber and poor solid waste management.

Silago-Cabalian Bay, on the other hand, has been confronted with issues like intrusion of commercial vessels in municipal waters, use of prohibited fishing devise, poor solid waste management, poisonous starfish infestation, lack of law enforcement equipment, and quarrying.

Financed through a $45 million loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development, a specialized agency of the UN, the project will be implemented in Mimaropa, Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Caraga, and Autonomous

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