THE Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is now fast-tracking the rehabilitation for the fishery sector in typhoon-stricken coastal towns as ordered by President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
“President Aquino has instructed us to speed up the rehabilitation of the fisheries sector in the regions where Yolanda hit the hardest so that our fisherfolk could resume their fishing and start anew,” BFAR Director Asis Perez said.
Aquino, who was in Guiuan, Eastern Samar to personally assess the extent of the damage wrought by Super Typhoon Yolanda, met with Perez, who was also in town to conduct relief operations in the area.
Perez said that BFAR, based on the instruction of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, has already earmarked around P40.4-million worth of immediate assistance that will be provided to the affected fisherfolk.
Some 1,300 fishing boats equipped with five-horsepower engines will be built to replace destroyed fishing boats, and will be augmented with crab pots and 4,000 fishing nets.
BFAR estimated that about 1,844 metric tons, or P92.2 million worth of combined losses a day in commercial and municipal fishing. To recall, Yolanda had paralyzed all fishing operations when it ravaged bancas and commercial vessels and other fishing equipment in Regions 6, 7 and 8.
As for aquaculture, BFAR also estimated a total of 867 metric tons, or P43.35 million of losses when fishponds were destroyed by the strong storm surges.
“Overall, it will cost the country’s fisheries an estimate of more than P1 billion of shortfall in two weeks since the day the typhoon struck Visayas,” Perez said.
Perez, on board the agency’s multi-mission vessel MV DA-BFAR or DYCA, had sailed for Eastern Samar last week bringing along assistance from other DA attached agencies and private organizations.
The BFAR chief said they have already given away over 60 percent of the provisions aboard the said vessel—including food, water, medicine and relief goods for at least 30,000 families.
Immediate beneficiaries were residents, mostly fisherfolk, of Guiuan, Mercedes, Salcedo and other municipalities of the province.
BFAR has also brought down 5,000 liters of fuel to affected local governments in the province.