BFAR invests P50 million for coastal management in Northern Mindanao

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines –  The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Northern Mindanao will spend P50 million to rehabilitate and implement coastal resource management (CRM) covering 4 bays this year.

BFAR regional Director Teodoro Bacolod Jr said that the amount will cover the following: Macajalar Bay in this city, Gingoog Bay in Gingoog City, Iligan Bay in Iligan City and Panguil Bay in Ozamiz-Lanao del Norte.

CRM is comprises activities geared towards sustainable use and management of economically and ecologically valuable resourses in coastal areas. It considers interaction among and within resource systems as well as those of humans and their environment.

Bacolod said that CRM will enable fisherfolks in the region to learn how to properly take care of the seas by only harvesting legal-sized fish. The program will also provide livelihood for the fishermen.

Northern Mindanao's fish supply comes from Zamboanga and General Santos cities as the area of Region 10 have minimal seas as it is bound by Bohol, Cebu and Siquijor in Misamis Occidental.

Bacolod acknowledges that BFAR's fisherfolks registration program is still continuing as this will be the bases of their assistance to the fisherfolks.

“We see that the only basis to increase fish yield is through good CRM practice,” Bacolod said.

Bacolod laments that coastal towns in the region have failed to assist BFAR in implementing  the fisheries code.

BFAR's Ecosystem Approach through Fisheries Management (EAFM)'s baywide project plan is already being conducted in Macajalar Bay which covers this city and Misamis Oriental and Gingoog Bay will be next.

Most coastal municipalities here cannot claim 15 kilometer municipal waters as this overlaps with other towns and provinces. “In the (fisheries) law, the municipalities are tasked with creating Integrated Fisheries Ordinance, creating a unified municipal waters and all of their fisherfolks will enjoy coastal resources,” Bacolod said.

To compliment the CRM project in coastal communities, BFAR will also invest in increasing bangus (milkfish) yield in the region.

Bacolod said that they have already started the project in Lala, Lanao del Norte where they have a 30-hectare fish pond to produce bangus fry and fingerlings. BFAR also has a hatchery in Camiguin Island.

Bacolod said that they also have started importing 2 million bangus fingerlings from Indonesia to augment and boost local production.

Bangus production in a Mariculture park in the town of Balingasag where it produces 17 tons of bangus quarterly will have to be put on hold to allow the ecosystem to recover. “We have to stop production of bangus in Balingasag this year to allow the waters to recover from the environmental impact and prevent fishkills,” Bacolod said.

This closure will affect bangus supply in the region. As of May 2019, there were less than 100 fish cages operational in Balingasag. There used to be 110 fish cages in 100 hectares of water area.

BFAR is aiming to produce 20 million bangus fingerlings annually which will be sold to bangus growers to sustain production in the region. –