‘Fish Right’ pushed to improve fish production in Negros

NEGROS ORIENTAL, Oct. 1 (PIA)–The dwindling supply of fish in some parts of Negros Island’s major fishing ground is now up for rehabilitation.

Silliman University (SU) together with University of Rhode Islands and University of the Philippines (UP) are putting into action the ‘Fish Right’ program to promote the right fishing and improve the struggling fishing industry in the island as well as the country’s food security. 

The over population, coastal degradation, destructive fishing practices and overfishing are some of the causes cited in the decline of fish production in the region, said SU former President Dr. Ben Malayang.

Malayang explained that fishing and fish are among the fundamental resources that backstops the economy in the province and the country in general.

“Most of the people are dependent on protein from fish and many of the marginalized folks are also dependent on income from fishing and fishery trade,” said Dr. Malayang.

The project is implemented to make sure that stakeholders will do their best in ensuring fish supplies are sustained and improved. 

Through improved management of fisheries, mangroves, and other coastal resources, the program is seen to increase resilience and improve livelihood among households engaged in the fisheries within the Southern Negros areas.

The key marine biodiversity areas for this project will cover from the coastline of Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental to Cauayan, Negros Occidental with 13 municipalities and cities in Southern Negros.

Together, the team from Fish Right and its local partners will work toward building the resilience of fishing communities and improving the management of fisheries. 

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Malayang said, “The project is not only about doing things that needs to be done. It is about partnership with different key players of the fish, trade fishing and fish trade economy of the province, improving people’s value and consciousness to protect our fishery and improving our ability to protect our fish.”

Malayang hopes that through the “Fish Right” Project, people in Negros Island will no longer need to import ‘Galunggong’.

Malayang said that illegal fishing has to be addressed by those who are actually in the local communities, and be given the capacity to do not only rulemaking but also rule enforcement. 

“The rule users need to be rule makers and also the rule enforcers in the sense that whenever there are national laws, [these] will be translated into what would be appropriate ways in enforcing the laws among themselves,” added Malayang.

The project employs behavior change in the community to achieve lifelong conservation results to protect the fish.

Republic Act 8550, or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998, prohibits unauthorized fishing or fishing without a permit in municipal waters and fishing with the use of active fishing gear in the municipal waters. Under the law, active fishing gear is banned as it also catches smaller fish.

Aside from Galunggong, other small fishes like Malangsi, Tulingan, small fishes  are the major fisheries of the municipal fishers. (jct/PIA7-Negros Oriental)

Source: PIA Feed