The Department of Agriculture (DA) is now eyeing Pangasinan as the main supplier for the fish requirements of Metro Manila and other urban areas in Luzon. This as the DA expects a decline in fish production with the closure of fish pens in Laguna de Bay.
In a speech during his visit to the Fisherman’s Center at the newly-completed wharf and causeway in Sual town, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said: “To fill the big gap on the needs of the urban areas Sual and the province of Pangasinan will definitely comes into place because of its strategic location and its reputation for high quality produce.”
The DA chief also encouraged the fisheries sector in the province to come up with a roadmap to avail of government assistance.
Earlier, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) declared a one-year moratorium, starting this year, on the issuance of permits for fish cage operations in Laguna de Bay.
Environment Secretary Regina Paz Lopez said the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) will no longer renew permits issued to fish cage operators, which will expire this month.
Laguna de Bay is a major aquaculture hub where 30 percent of Metro Manila’s bangus and tilapia supply are grown.
The lake’s carrying capacity is roughly 9,000 hectares but the total area occupied by fish cages and fish pens is estimated to be around 13,000 hectares.
Meanwhile, Piñol distributed some 70 fiberglass boats complete with fishing equipment to fisherfolk from Pangasinan and La Union.
“This is part of the 700 boats with implements to be granted to the 14 coastal towns of Pangasinan,” he said.
Meanwhile, Piñol offered fisherfolk livelihood programs and interventions in exchange for a commitment to stop illegal fishing activities.
“We will also set up other income generating activities to compensate for your livelihood during the nil season,” he added.