MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture plans to build 252 fish landing centers all over the country in a bid to improve the lives of Filipino fishermen.
“The construction of the fish landing centers is part of the government’s commitment to deliver precise interventions and promote inclusive growth in the fishery sector,” said Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala on Friday, February 6.
The Community Fish Land Centers, each costing P2.85 million, are facilities near the shore where fishermen may directly deposit their catch. It will be equipped with storage facilities to keep their catch fresh as well as an area for fishermen to store their boats and equipment.
More readily available post-harvest facilities like freezers allow fishermen to sell marine products at higher prices and ensures safe and better quality products for consumers, said Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) chief Asis Perez.
The fish landing centers are also expected to lower the amount of fish catch lost after harvesting due to spoilage or inefficient transfer of catch from boat to the marketplace.
The DA aims to reduce fisheries post-harvest losses from 25% to 18% or even lower, said Perez.
The landing areas will also provide a venue for training sessions to help fishermen make their livelihood disaster-resilient and for resource management skills like monitoring fish catch and assessing fish stocks. (READ: PH oceans in crisis: The sad state of small fisherfolk)
The BFAR used its fisherfolk database, a fisheries registry system maintained by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and research from the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) to determine where the 252 fish landing centers will be constructed.
NAPC made recommendations based on poverty incidence, population density, fish production, number of registered fisherfolk and number of existing fish ports and fish landing areas.
Initial data from NAPC shows that 4 areas will be targeted for the first half of 2015.
These areas are:
- Culion, Palawan
- Coron, Palawan
- Madridejos, Cebu
- Estancia, Iloilo
Fish landing centers were envisioned as the strategy to move fishing communities away from shorelines – where they are vulnerable to storm surge and flooding – while still enabling them to pursue their livelihood as fisherfolk. – Pia Ranada/Rappler.com