LAGAYAN, Abra – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-Cordillera distributed 54 units legal and eco-friendly fishing devices to fisherfolk who surrendered their illegal electrofishing devi-ces.
This is part of the Oplan Kaliwaan program on the vo-luntary turnover of electrofishing devices that was conceptualized in 2017.
BFAR-Cordillera Director Lilibeth Signey led the distribution together with the local government unit through Mayor Edmarc L. Crisologo and Lagayan Municipal Police Office Acting Chief Jennifer Benabese.
Based on the report of Abra police, 53 units of electrofishing gadgets were surrendered to the LGU in April as a result of the intensified campaign on illegal fishing activities as mandated in Republic Act 10654, or the law that aims to prevent, deter, and eliminate illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
Section 92 of the law imposes a penalty of six months of imprisonment and a fine of P5,000 on individuals using explosives, noxious or poisonous substances, or electricity when fishing.
Crisologo said with the distribution of legal fishing device equipment to fisherfolk, the old manner of fishing will be transformed into a responsible and eco-friendly manner.
He added using these fishing devi-ces, fish and aquatic resources and their environment will be conserved for the be-nefit of the future generations.
Signey expressed gratitude to the LGU and the police for their actions to reduce illegal fishing activities in the municipality.
She emphasized the need to encourage other fisherfolk to surrender their illegal fishing devices.
The beneficiaries were given straw, nylon twine, floaters, and gauge wire and signed an oath of surrender pledging that they would never use other types of illegal fishing gear.
The Oplan Kaliwaan program is an “out-of-the-box” approach employed to convince illegal fishers to turn back from this destructive and unsustainable fishing method with the end goal of creating a behavioral change among them and making them partners of the BFAR-Cordillera in promoting the responsible use of inland fishery resources of the Cordilleras.
Aurelio Dayawen, a fisherfolk and farmer in Pangot, Lagayan, was one of those who surrendered their illegal electrofishing devices.
He said this method of fishing has been their way of fishing in their neighborhood, but with the continuous effort by the government, he chose to surrender his illegal equipment and opt for the legal ad more sustainable way of fishing. – Press Release