Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) National Director, Eduardo Gongona, and Fisheries Management Area (FMA) 11 Chairperson Regional Director, Remia Aparri, hosted a consultation meeting with the Aquaculture Sector. Among others, the principals’ issues raised by the production sector were the need for nurseries to sustain fish cages and the shortage in fry supply. FMA 11 is a major aquaculture area for milkfish, shellfish, tilapia, and shrimps.
Others problems exposed at Zuri Hotel, Mandurriao, Iloilo City, were the high feed cost; the frequent flooding along the Barotac-Anilao waterway and the abandoned, undeveloped, and underutilized Fishpond Lease Agreement (FLA) areas.
To address these concerns, the group tabled some management actions, as to put up nurseries and hatcheries per Island cluster and several satellite hatcheries, in collaboration with Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center – Aquaculture Department (Seafdec-AQD).
Also they suggested to boost the production of soya and an agreement with Seafdec-AQD on low-cost feeds. Others proposals were coordination with local government units and Department of Public Works and Highways for a clearing operation, and updating of FLA status and revisiting the tenurial agreements, among others.
In his message, Gongona highlighted the need to ensure food sufficiency by increasing local fish production. He further emphasized the important role of the sector to achieve food security being the second highest contributor to fisheries production in Western Visayas.
Focusing on management actions for the aquaculture sector
The meeting was a kick-off for an upcoming workshop to come up with part two of the Fisheries Management Area Framework which will focus on management actions for the aquaculture sector.
The local aquaculture sector was represented by the members of the FMA 11 Management Board (MB), Scientific Advisory Group (SAG), and Technical Working Group (TWG).
Sector representatives present were MB Member, David Villaluz; SAG Members, Shelah Ursua and Erish Superio of Seafdec-AQD, and Victor Emmanuel Estilo. Also were presents the TWG member, Tomas Hautea, Also in attendance are Dax Tan Yau, Lionel Iguiz, and Tan Yau, all of whom are pond owners and operators.
Issues that threaten the country’s food security
The meeting was also part of the bureau’s effort relevant to the Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar’s marching order to consult with stakeholders on issues that threaten the country’s food security including the surge in fuel prices and a subsequent increase in primary commodity costs.
While the government tames the effects with immediate and short-term programs, it is imperative that all sectors are assessed to effectively and appropriately address this pressing issue, they reported in a press release.
FMA 11 is a major aquaculture area for milkfish, shellfish, tilapia, and shrimps. In fact, of the 395,906 metric tons (PSA, 2021) fisheries production in 2021 of FMA 11 (Capiz, Cebu, Guimaras, Iloilo, Masbate, Negros Occidental, and Negros Oriental), the sector contributed almost 35% or 137,824.91 MT which came in second to the municipal fishing sector which contributed approximately 48% or 189,235.79 MT.
FMA 11 Management Framework 2022-2027
In previous days, the Management Board (MB) of Fisheries Management Area (FMA) 11 approved for adoption the FMA 11 Management Framework 2022-2027 during its regular meeting for the first quarter of 2022, held online.
“This Management Framework will be our guide to achieve for the FMA 11 an improved and sustainable fishery by looking after the people’s socio-economic aspect while minding the ecological well-being of the resource. We will do this with the appropriate governance scale using the ecosystem approach to fisheries management (EAFM) as reflected in the framework,” said FMA 11 MB Chairperson and BFAR 6 Regional Director, Remia Aparri during the meeting.
What made the management framework possible was a series of year-long consultation and planning workshops led by the FMA 11 Technical Working Group (TWG) with the stakeholders of the provinces of Capiz, Cebu, Guimaras, Iloilo, Masbate, Negros Occidental, and Negros Oriental representing the municipal fishing sector, commercial fishing sector, aquaculture, processors, traders, and market organizers, civil society organization, academe, local government units, and protected areas.