The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has extended its support to the fisherfolk of Panglao, a municipality in the province of Bohol, by providing them with five fish cages this year as part of a mega project that aims to uplift their lives and livelihoods.
The fish cages, which are located in the waters of Panglao Island, are intended to boost the production and income of the local fishermen, who mainly rely on fishing and tourism for their sustenance.
The Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO) of Panglao, which is in charge of implementing and managing the project, expressed its gratitude to BFAR for the assistance and vowed to work hard towards the fulfilment of their objectives.
“We are very thankful to BFAR for the support they have given us in uplifting the lives of our fisher folk in Panglao. From five fish cages this year, we are looking forward to expanding this into another mega project that will benefit not only the fishermen but also the consumers,” said MAO Panglao.
According to Panglao Mayor Boy Arcay, the fish cages are stocked with high-value species such as grouper, snapper, and pompano, which are in high demand in the local and international markets. He added that the fish cages are also equipped with automatic feeders and water quality monitoring devices to ensure the optimal growth and health of the fish.
MAO Panglao also said that the project is aligned with the vision of BFAR to develop, improve, manage, and conserve the country’s fisheries and aquatic resources. MAO that the project will contribute to the food security, poverty alleviation, and environmental protection of the country.
BFAR, which is an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture, is the government agency responsible for the regulation and development of the fisheries sector in the Philippines. It has been providing various programs and projects to support the fisherfolk, such as the provision of fishing gears, boats, post-harvest facilities, training, and technical assistance.
BFAR said that the agency is committed to continue its support to the fisherfolk of Panglao and other areas in the region. BFAR said that the agency is also working on other initiatives to promote responsible and sustainable fishing practices, such as the establishment of marine protected areas, the enforcement of fishery laws, and the implementation of the closed fishing season for sardines.
“We are happy to see the positive results of our partnership with the MAO Panglao and the fisherfolk of Panglao. We hope that this project will serve as a model for other municipalities and communities to emulate. We assure them that BFAR will always be here to support them in their endeavors,” BFAR said.
The fisherfolk of Panglao, who are the direct beneficiaries of the project, also expressed their appreciation to BFAR and MAO Panglao for the opportunity and assistance they have received. They said that the project has improved their income and living conditions, as well as their skills and knowledge in fish farming.
“We are very grateful to BFAR and MAO Panglao for giving us this chance to improve our lives. Before, we only depended on the catch from the sea, which was sometimes not enough to feed our families. Now, we have a steady source of income from the fish cages, which also help us conserve the marine resources. We have also learned a lot from the training and seminars they have provided us. We are proud to be part of this project and we will do our best to make it successful,” said Mr. Nilo Bitoon, a fisherfolk leader from Panglao.
The fish cage project is one of the many initiatives that BFAR and MAO Panglao have undertaken to support the fisherfolk of Panglao, who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the decline of tourism in the island. The project is also expected to boost the local economy and tourism of Panglao, which is known for its pristine beaches and rich marine biodiversity.