City starts demolishing illegal fishpens

Mayor Belen Fernandez has created Task Force Bantay Ilog to guard and monitor the city’s rivers 24/7 as the demolition of illegal fish pens in Dagupan started last week.

City Agriculture Officer Emma Molina, tasked to oversee the demolition, said the creation of the task force, headed by Ronnie Cayabyab, president of the Dagupan City Small Fishermen’s Association, is an indication of Mayor Fernandez’s determination to clear the city’s tributaries.

“She means business,” Molina intoned.

The task force has been busy marking empty fish pens whose structures be torn down.

Molina earlier reported that some 60 illegal fish pens that have already been emptied.

The mayor gave a final ultimatum setting August 31 as the last day for more than 200 illegal fish pens to harvest their stock and to remove their contraptions.

However, it was noted that the owners of the empty fish pens did not comply with the condition requiring them to remove the structures.

KAPITAN ILLEGAL FISHPEN OWNER

Meanwhile, Dr. Westly Rosario, chief of the National Integrated Fisheries Technology Development Center based in Dagupan, who was asked to help put order Dagupan rivers, received reports that a city barangay chairman, one of the identified illegal fish pen operators, regularly harvested during the day and restocked the pens with new fingerlings on the same night.

Speaking during the KBP forum Thursday, Rosario said the city government must watch this “squid tactic” of illegal fish pen operators if it really wants to get rid of illegal fish pens.

Molina confirmed that a mild fish kill occurred in Dagupan last week which she blamed mainly to the big number of fish pens, especially in the Dagupan-Binmaley boundary.

The water in this area is now blackish, a strong indication that pollution caused by decaying feeds that settle in the bottom of the water has started.

Illegal fish pens are also located in Barangays Calmay, Salapingao, Pularo and Pantal, which Rosario said were suddenly put up by various owners during the election period from April to May.

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