AS FISHERFOLK affected by the dismantling of illegal fish pens along the Pantal River appealed for better alternative livelihood opportunities, a councilor has proposed an expanded aquaculture program to include raising high-value fish.
Councilor Redford Erfe-Mejia said the city agriculture office should upgrade its aquaculture development agenda to include raising siganid (malaga), grouper (lapu-lapu) and other species to augment the income of the fishermen.
The Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) has invited City Agriculturist Emma Molina and Coastal Management Chief Butch Gutierrez to the council’s next session for their to response to the proposal.
In Barangay Calmay, where the SP held a regular session on Monday last week, fisherfolk lamented that after their fish pens and other fishing structures were demolished more than a year ago to clear the city’s rivers for dredging, there has not been enough support delivered by the city government to augment their income loss.
The city government launched some alternative livelihood projects such as oyster farming but affected residents said the income from these have not been sufficient.
One resident, Arnold Vinoya, said his family has been struggling financially since their fish pen was dismantled.
“Instead of going to school, my children have to work themselves to augment our family’s income,” he said.
He noted that no dredging has been undertaken in their area since the dismantling.
Councilor Alvin Coquia, chair of the committee on agriculture, urged the fisherfolk to make a list of suggestions and express their concern as a group to prompt city hall to act on their complaints. (PIA-Pangasinan)