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 BFAR Caraga opens 55th FishCon Week celebration

The Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources marked the celebration of the 55th Fish Conservation Week with the theme, “Kapag Karagatan ng Munisipal ay Inalagaan, Sasagana ang Yamang-dagat ng buong Sambayanan,” last September 17 to 21, 2018.

The celebration commenced with the flag ceremony at the Regional Office, followed by a motorcade and was formally launched at the Philippine Gateway Hotel, Surigao City on September 17, 2018. The opening program was graced by Honorable Vice Governor Arturo Carlos Egay, Jr. of the Provincial Government of Surigao del Norte, along with Ruby Ann C. Lagahit, Officer-in-Charge of its Provincial Agriculture Office and Atty. Manuelito Delanie, the Legal Officer of Surigao City Government.

“This (event) is especially significant because it seeks to encourage our stakeholders to protect and conserve our aquatic resources and in turn take care of the whole fishing industry. The importance of fish and other aquatic products to the people in the local economy can never be undermined,” said Atty. Delanie.

“We are blessed with enormous aquatic resource which is not only for our trading but it has also attached responsibility for us to conserve, care and develop. With total coastline of about 226 km and above 445 sq. km of water and sea, this is not exactly an easy task to accomplish,” added Atty. Delanie.

“Fortunately, the city government is continuously pursuing various undertakings to support fishermen’s productivity and promote greater consciousness on methods that will protect and help conserve our fishery resources. Parallel to this, we continue to relentlessly implement regulatory measures and penalize those who continue to disregard laws and regulations regarding our fisheries,” the city legal officer further said.

According to Atty. Delanie, the government can only be effective by the greatest support of the community. Local, coastal and fishing communities should always be in the forefront of the efforts in protecting these critical resources.

 

He further urged everyone to strengthen further their cooperation and take more profound dedication to the call of duty in the hopes for brighter and better days for the fishery sector.

Honorable Vice Governor Arturo Carlos A. Egay, Jr also gave his message:

“I am delighted to have been invited to attend this (opening) program of BFAR - the Fish Conservation Week celebration as a wonderful opportunity for us to share our ideas about one of the world’s treasures - “an ato kadagatan, san an ato mga kaisdaan” (our seas and our fisheries).”

“Fish conservation can help maintain nature’s balance. A lot of things had been done to achieve the expected results for this undertaking, including capacity enhancement trainings for enforcements agencies, partnerships with people’s organizations and the conduct of social preparation activities which strengthen their individual organizations, to mention a few,” the honorable vice governor added.

“As one of the leading ecotourism destinations in the country, tourists and visitors who came in our province enjoy the beauty of our nature and spend time to several recreational activities that we promoted like game fishing and surfing in Siargao Island. The provincial government has been constantly working hand-in-hand with other organizations and line agencies in the implementation of various programs, all directed to sustain and foster our commitment in strengthening the Philippine fisheries,” Vice Governor Egay further added.

Moreover, Vice Governor Egay urged everyone to continue to support the program intended for environmental protection:

“Let us not hesitate to contribute whatever we can share. I hope and pray that our untiring commitment, shared dreams and noble ideas and collaborative efforts built bigger than over. May our inner drive to nurture our environment is stronger than never. In so doing, we are convinced and sure that we will triumph in our proceed to save this planet.”

Notably, the vice governor concluded his message emphasizing the need to instill the “3Es”:

“We need to remember three (3) E’s, one is Enforcement, if we want to have fish conservation, we have to enforce all the fishery laws to avoid illegal fishing. Secondly is Education, we need to educate our communities so that they will have a full appreciation of how important it is to conserve and maintain our environment especially our inland, marine ecosystems. And probably, the third E is Enhancement. We will have to capacitate more our fisherfolk in this way we will have fruitful, meaningful fish conservation efforts in our region.”

Officer-in-charge of the Provincial Agriculture Office of Surigao del Norte, Ma’am Ruby Ann Lagahit also expressed her message:

“We are thankful to BFAR for acknowledging the efforts of the municipal local government unit of Gigaquit as the regional winner for the Search for Malinis at Masaganang Karagatan (MMK) 2018,” said Ma’am Lagahit.

“There is really a need to strengthen our regulatory and enforcement efforts in the province. We need to have concerted efforts with DENR, because based on the reports of our agri-fishery councils (AFCs), some parts of our seashores and mangroves has been reclaimed for building of infrastructures. It is so sad that some of our mangroves areas have been denuded and that our fishery grounds and the breeding areas were not conserve,” Lagahit expressed.

“With this, the province has now passed the Provincial Fishery Code of Surigao del Norte, it is already on its third reading, and we hope to disseminate and implement this code, in partnership with BFAR and the rest of the municipal local government units,” added the OIC of the Provincial Agriculture Office.

“Let us strengthen our collaboration with BFAR, MLGUs and other agencies as partners in fisheries development. In this way, we can hope for a bountiful and brighter future in the agriculture and fishery sector,” she concluded.

Maam Omnia Olama, Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of the Fisheries Management Regulatory and Enforcement Division (FMRED) gave her message in behalf of the regional director.

She reported that at present, the fishery law enforcers or the members of the Regional Fisheries Protection and Law Enforcement Group have already apprehended on record, 27 apprehensions for this year.

“I hope you continue to support the programs of our office and be an example – a role model in the protection and conservation of our coastal resources,” Ma’am Olama, on her final remarks.

According to Provincial Fishery Officer (PFO) Antonio S. Boiser, “the Fish Conservation week is celebrated to raise awareness and to remind us at all times the importance of conservation, protection and sustainable utilization of our aquatic resources.”

PFO Boiser also pointed out that anthropogenic activities pose high risk of destruction and threat towards our resources over natural calamities and phenomena.

“Illegal fishing activities such as blast fishing, cyanide fishing, and the use of fine mesh net as well as the increasing fishing pressure and the demand of protein source due to increasing population are really depleting to our marine ecosystems,” PFO Boiser explained. 

In closing, PFO Boiser wished for the success of the weeklong celebration and hoped that everyone will continue to be stewards in the conservation of our aquatic resources.

In the afternoon, an orientation on Republic Act 10654 was conducted by Atty. Analee Alverastine, adjudication officer, to raise awareness among employees of the Regional Bureau with emphasis on the violations, fines and penalties.

After the orientation, a film showing activity was conducted at Luneta Park where strollers at the plaza mostly the students were able to watch documentaries related to conservation of aquatic ecosystems; as such coral reefs, mangrove forest and seagrass beds.

A simultaneous mangrove planting was conducted all throughout the region on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 spearheaded by the Provincial Fishery Officers of the Regional Bureau.

On Wednesday, September 19, 2018, personnel from the Regional Office together with the Provincial Fisheries Office in Surigao del Norte conducted coastal clean-up activities at Brgy. Sabang3, Surigao City of which the activity was also been simultaneously conducted by the other BFAR Provinces Fisheries Office of the region.