Fisherfolk raise alarm over demolition of Navotas City fishing structures
March 26, 2024

Supporters of affected fiserhfolks in Navotas protesting the demolition of fishing structures. (Photo by Umani Productions)

By LIA MERCADO
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) expressed concerns over the demolition of fishing structures in Navotas City along Manila Bay.

Ina statement, Pamalakaya said, “Affected fisherfolk and other residents ‘highly believe’ that the dismantling order is part of the 650-hectare reclamation project in the area.”

The group also criticized the silence of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), stressing that it may be interpreted as tacit approval of activities detrimental to the marine ecosystem and the livelihood of local communities.

“Productive fishing structures that culture mussels and oysters are being dismantled in the country’s ‘fishing capital’ and yet we haven’t heard any objection from the agencies mandated to uphold our fisheries and marine resources. Where are the DA and BFAR in these trying times?” asked Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson.

The situation in Navotas mirrors the situation in Cavite where shellfish production decreased due to similar reclamation efforts.

According to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, oyster and mussel harvests have decreased over the years. “Oyster (talaba) production in Cavite dropped from 1,500 metric tons in 2015 to less than 500 MT in 2020. Meanwhile, mussel (tahong) harvest decreased to around 2,000 MT in 2023, from more than 8,000 MT in 2019 before the reclamation project started.”

Hicap said that more than 1,000 fish workers and municipal fisherfolk are likely to lose their source of livelihood because of this dismantling order. “We urge all the residents of Navotas City to compel the concerned government agencies to intervene and prevent the further destruction of our fishing grounds that are substantial to the local fisheries production, especially on the production of mussels and oysters in the Metro Manila.” (RTS, DAA)

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