All-out clear-out, not reduction of Laguna de Bay fish pens – group to LLDA
Manila, Philippines – The fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Monday urged the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) to complete the No Fish Pen policy in the 90-thousand hectare Laguna de Bay to give the lake ample time to recover from pollution and congestion cause by private fish pens.
The No Fish Pen policy or the one-year moratorium on fish pens under LLDA Board Resolution 518 is one of President Rodrigo Duterte’s immediate orders when he assumed office last year to rehabilitate the largest lake in the country and to prioritize the small-fisherfolk whom for years have been deprived of their traditional fishing ground due to proliferation of corporate-owned fish pens.
“The LLDA headed by its general manager Jaime Medina seems to revise their Board Resolution by toning down the order from total removal to a mere size reduction of fish pens. Big-time fish pen operators and individuals will take this as an opportunity to retain their aquaculture structures in Laguna de Bay. Reducing the size will do nothing to rehabilitate and clean the lake; it needs an all-out clearing of fish pen structures to give the lake time to unwind,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
PAMALAKAYA casts doubt on the partition of total allowable size of fish pen structures where 60% of the 9,200-hectare carrying capacity will be allotted for the small fisherfolk while the remaining 40% will be for the cooperatives and corporations. The group claims that no small-fisherfolk can even afford to build fish structure because of its costly value and given that small-fisherfolk are not earning enough to sustain their daily needs.
The group questions the collaboration of the LLDA and federation involving fishpen operators in execution of the anti-fish pen campaign.
“We find LLDA tying up with fish pen federations in implementation of this campaign highly ridiculous. What can the LLDA achieve in this anti-fishpen campaign if their partner organization is composed of private-individuals and seemingly fishing cooperatives that are secret dummies of giant fishing and aquaculture firms? This zero-fishpen campaign is nothing but a sham indeed,” Hicap added.
PAMALAKAYA calls on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to pursue total removal of aquaculture structures in the lake. ###