THE City Agriculture Office (CAO) and the Bantay Ilog Task Force are working double time to demolish some 100 illegal fish pens and fish cages in the city’s rivers that have surfaced anew to meet the new deadline set by Mayor Belen T. Fernandez.
Fernandez directed City Agriculture Officer Emma J. Molina and Marjorie Villanueva, also of CAO, to complete the demolition of the illegal structures within two weeks before she enplaned for the United States for a series of speaking engagements.
The mayor ordered a massive river cleanup drive anew on the advice of Dr. Westly Rosario of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, owing to the latter’s observation that illegal fish pens still operating are already affecting the quality of water of the city’s rivers.
City Agriculturist Emma Molina supervises the demolition of an oversized fish cage by the Bantay Ilog Task Force (CIO photo by Jojo Tamayo)
The more than a hundred owners of fish pens and illegal fish cages found to be operating continuously have been issued warning notices last month.
The owners of these structures have been notified by the CAO a month ago to voluntarily demolish their structures.
“We have given them due notice and enough time and consideration, but they continue to put another cycle of fingerlings or bangus fry after harvesting their first cycle, which gave us no other option but to dismantle their structures,” said Molina.
The city’s cleanup drive already benefitted hundreds of small fishermen.
“The river must be owned by our small fishermen. When we are done with our clean-up drive, which include dredging with the help of the Department of Public Works and Highways, these local fishermen will be allowed to put up a 5×5 fish cage on a limited quantity so they won’t pollute our rivers again,” Fernandez earlier said. (CIO/JCB)