DAGUPAN CITY – At least 600 marginal fisherfolks in the city received livelihood assistance from Mayor Belen T. Fernandez under the city’s livelihood program for sustainable fisheries resources being undertaken by the City Agriculture Office (CAO).

Fernandez said that the assistance were in the form of materials to construct fishing gears and equipment needed by the fisherfolks in the different barangays, like various type of gill nets; non-motorized bancas (baloto); motorized bancas for fishing; oyster beds; fishcages; and stationary fishing gears like  “skyblue”, ”sky lab” and “batikwas”.

Since Mayor Fernandez was elected mayor in 2013, livelihood assistance for marginal fishermen was prioritized by the city. These livelihood programs were in various forms like provision of non-motorized fishing boats (baloto), bamboo rafts (lamo), floating oyster rafts, fish cages for high value fish species, fry collector nets, and motorized fishing boats with fish finder gadgets.

The Federasyon ng mga Samahan ng mga Maliliit na Mangingisda ng Dagupan City was a recipient of a beach seine project funded by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) while the women sector was provided with trainings and capacity buildings on fish processing in coordination with the different national government agencies like Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Pangasinan State University, DOLE and Department of Trade and Industry.

The association producing the “Maria Endang” dried fish and housewives of fishermen in Bonuan Gueset and Pantal were assisted by the city and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) while those from Bonuan Boquig, Bonuan Binloc and Mangin were assisted through the city’s Gender and Development program.

The City Agriculture Office has reported that a total of 99 hectares of the city’s river at present have been cleared of permanent fishing structures, which increased the available area as open space for marginal fisherfolks to operate their passive gears.

“We are now ready to give the river back to our small fisherfolks after our relentless effort of cleaning the river along with the needed amendments of the city’s fishery code,” said Fernandez.

Recipients of the livelihood program were fisherfolks   from Barangay Carael, Lucao Tokok, Lucao Nibaliw, Pantal, Salapingao, Lomboy, Mamalingling, Calmay, Bonuan Gueset and Pugaro. (Joseph C. Bacani/CIO/Jan. 9, 2018)