TUGUEGARAO CITY: The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Region 2 is set to implement a large-scale bamboo planting project to provide “alternative livelihood” for fisherfolk affected by the ban on Ludong fishing.
BFAR officials said the livelihood project for displaced fishermen will be done in coordination with local government units.
Beneficiaries for the livelihood project are small fisherfolk from the municipalities affected by the ban on Ludong fishing: Aparri, Camalaniugan, Lallo, Gattaran, Sto. Niño, Alcala, and Amulung in Cagayan; Ilagan City, Palanan, Tumauini, San Mariano, San Agustin, Jones, Dinapigue, Cabagan in Isabela; and Maddela, Cabarroguis, Aglipay and Nagtipunan in Quirino.
These fisherfolk were displaced when a BFAR administrative circular imposed a “closed fishing season” on the high-value fish Ludong (Cestraeus sp.) every year from October 1 to November 15.
BFAR National Director Asis Perez issued Administrative Circular 247 last year to protect spawning Ludong, which is fast disappearing in the region.
The circular prohibits individuals, associations or corporations from catching Ludong species, also called “president’s fish,” in Cagayan River, including its tributaries, headwaters and watersheds, Abra River and its tributaries extending to Santa River in Ilocos Sur and the Cordillera Region.
Militant group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) blasted the BFAR for implementing the Ludong closed season order, saying the ban will only affect small fisherfolk.
Pamalakaya blamed BFAR’s negligence and incompetence for the depletion of Ludong. It said “the agency is responsible for the dwindling away of the Ludong population.”
Pamalakaya Vice Chairperson Salvador France said the small fishermen should not be included in the BFAR’s order to ban the catching of Ludong.
“The small fisherfolk are the ones who suffer and not the big fishing corporations,” France said, adding that if there is anyone who should be subjected to the BFAR order, it should only be the big fishing corporations and not the small fisherfolk.
This is why BFAR officials in Region 2 said they are coming up with the bamboo livelihood project, which will mainly benefit those fisherfolk who were directly involved in catching Ludong.
Earlier this week, the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) Clonal Nursery in Cagayan has confirmed a high market potential for bamboo given the limited supply in Region 2.
Dr. Noel Soriano and Forester Pablo Agustin of Cagayan CENRO said they have been holding trainings on bamboo propagule propagation, nursery establishment and actual planting and maintenance.
Lilia de Leon Abel of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said that bamboo can be harvested after seven years, and harvesting can continuously go on, unlike a lumber tree, which can be harvested only once.