• International support pours in for Eastern Visayas fishery sector

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    EASTERN Visayas is a recipient of fund support from international organizations that are expected to boost the fishery sector in this part of the country.

    Regional director Juan Albaladejo of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) recently disclosed that Eastern Visayas is one of the six regions in the country which availed of a grant from the United States Agency for International Development (Usaid) amounting to U.S.$ 15 million.

    The fund was utilized for the Ecofish Project or the Ecosystems Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM). It is a holistic approach that takes into consideration resource protection, resource enhancement and livelihood, to already include post-harvest facilities.

    “We are not just doing the conservation but also we have to take care of our fisherfolks by providing them with livelihood program,” he added.

    The project is currently implemented at San Bernardino Strait with pilot areas in Biri, Capul and San Vicente all island towns of Northern Samar and in Danajon Bank piloted at the fifth district of Leyte covering local government units of Baybay, Bato, Hilongos, Hindang and Inopacan and Maasin in Southern Leyte, he disclosed.

    On the other hand, starting next year four bays in the region are recipients of a soft loan from the International Foundation for Agricultural Development, an entity affiliated with the United Nations (UN).

    The soft loan of P25 million per bay each year for five years will be utilized at the Maqueda Bay, Leyte Gulf, Matarinao Bay and Silago-Cabalian Bay in Southern Leyte.

    He added that the Maqueda Bay is important for the region’s mussels industry while Leyte Gulf is the bread and butter for captured fisheries and Matarinao for seaweed and other indigenous crabs.

    Of the fund support, about 70 percent will be utilized for livelihood projects of the fisherfolks and the remaining 30 percent for the coastal resource.

    “If we want to help our fisherfolks, we have to provide them with alternative livelihood or they get a preferential treatment for fishing option,” Albaladejo said.

    He stated that all these projects will utilize the ecosystem approach that will ensure enhancement of resources and for fisherfolks to be alleviated from poverty. PNA

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