MANILA, Philippines – Some 5,000 fishermen who lost their boats to Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) may soon be owners of new fiberglass boats from the government. (WATCH: Fiberglass boats for Haiyan-hit fishermen)
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) under the Department of Agriculture says they have started building 5,000 fiberglass boats as part of Yolanda rehabilitation efforts to help get fisherfolk back on their feet.
The project, called the “AHON! Rehabilitation Initiative,” aims to build a total of 30,000 fishing boats for small fisherfolk in the typhoon-struck regions of Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas and Mimaropa.
So far, the project has finished building 24,109 fishing boats for more than 1,000 coastal villages in over 102 municipalities.
The additional 5,000 boats are made from fiberglass, a light-weight but durable material commonly used in high-end marine vessels. (READ: Earth Hour aims to give fiberglass boats to Haiyan fishermen)
Fiberglass is a type of glass-reinforced plastic. Boats made of fiberglass are said to be easier to repair than the conventional wooden boats of most Filipino fishermen since a hole can be easily covered by adding more layers of fiberglass.
BFAR personnel will be training fisherfolk beneficiaries on how to make fiberglass boats themselves using kits to be provided by the agency.
“Our aim is to pass the boatbuilding technology down to the fisherfolk in order to give them the option as well as the ability to build better fishing boats for themselves,” said BFAR Director Asis Perez.
The BFAR will also supply the fishermen with fishing gear and motor engines.
Yolanda damage to the fisheries sector was pegged at P6 billion by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. It destroyed more than 30,000 fishing boats stripping fishermen of their main livelihood for months. (READ: P9B needed for agri, fisheries in Yolanda areas) – Rappler.com with a report by Pia Ranada