Small fishers ‘at losing end’ on collapsing fisheries production
Manila, Philippines — As the country’s fisheries output keeps on shrinking, a group of small fisherfolk is appealing for an “extensive and systematic” solution to support the small fishers, which they said are the “losing sector in the collapse of the fishing production”.
In a statement, the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) said that the decline of fisheries production “manifests poverty and hunger among the fisherfolk”.
“The continued decline of fisheries output over the years obviously pose impacts to the small fishers as they are the subsector seen to have a low productivity,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
Latest Fisheries Situation Report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed a significant decline of fisheries production for the first quarter of this year which was at 980.7 thousand metric tons, lower by 3.2% from its 2019 same quarter production of 1, 013.04 million metric tons.
Municipal fisheries subsector, which comprised 26.5% of the total fisheries production, registered a 3.4% decrease as catch dropped to 260.05 thousand metric tons during this year’s first quarter, from 269.18 thousand metric tons output a year ago.
“Small and subsistence fisherfolks are already battered with various issues such as costly production due to policies that induce inflation, degrading marine and aquatic resources caused by exploitation of big-fishing firms on municipal waters, among others,” Hicap lamented.
“The fisherfolk sector is still considered as the country’s poorest among the poor, and yet there is no significant program for our fisherfolk that will foster and develop their mode of production. Worst, they are often threatened with displacement due to privatization and conversion projects in coastal communities,” the fisherfolk leader added.
“Moreover, the dramatic decrease of fishing output reflects the government’s failure to uplift the lives of the fisherfolk in the country,” ended Hicap. ###