DA-BFAR launches search for outstanding coastal community

The Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) launched on Monday, October 17, a program called Malinis and Masaganang Karagatan (MMK), which will award coastal municipalities for their efforts in protecting and conserving marine environments.

The program's launching coincided with the opening celebration of the 53rd Fish Conservation Week, which BFAR celebrated with the fisherfolk of Calabarzon in Calatagan, Batangas.

"The celebration of the Fish Conservation Week and the launching of the MMK mirror our present government's advocacy of protecting and conserving the country's fisheries and aquatic resources," said Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel "Manny" PiAol in a message.

The MMK program has four general criteria: (1) absence of illegal fishing and observance of fishing closed season, (2) establishment of protected marine sanctuary, (3) clean coastal waters without domestic and industrial wastes and, (4) effective mangrove protection and rehabilitation program.

PiAol said the program urges residents of coastal communities to rehabilitate their mangrove areas, allow spawning period of fish species undisturbed and, ensure an effective system for garbage disposal to prevent aquatic pollution.

The search for the most outstanding coastal municipality will run for a year. A National Technical Search Committee has been created to specifically evaluate candidates based on the criteria. The National Winner will receive 10 million pesos worth of fisheries livelihood.

Sustainable livelihood support programs are likewise currently being implemented while the government promotes and intensifies its effort on resource conservation.

Over 133 million pesos worth of fishery projects were brought down to the fisherfolk of Region 4A this week. The provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon were awarded a total of 27 Community Fish Landing Centers (CFLCs), which will house fishing equipment and provide venues for skills training on disaster resiliency and resource management. 190 motorized fiberglass boats, 260 hook and lines, and 25 bottomset gillnets were given to hundreds of fisherfolk beneficiaries. About 3 million tilapia fingerlings, 6.5 million bangus, and 87, 000 crablets were also given away as fishery inputs, and 250 fish cladding units as post-harvest equipment.

BFAR national director Eduardo B. Gongona said that the fishing livelihood implements are provided to improve the conditions of the municipal fisherfolk.

Source: Philippine Information Agency

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