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Fish cage harvest a success

SLT 1256 – March 16-22, 2024

SOUTHERN LEYTE – Last year, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources provincial office conducted a survey in the municipality of Tomas Oppus for a bangus fish cage project. Project recipients were chosen from associations that previously had a project with the Department of Agriculture.  In September 2023, the Canlupao Association of Fisherfolks (CAFA) received the bangus culture-in-cage livelihood package with a set of fishing inputs totaling P1,015,630.  This amount covered the cost of 5,000 bangus fingerlings, 202 bags of feed, one stainless steel cage, and 10 units of fish tubs.And on January 26, five months later, around 2,000 kilos of bangus raised in a cage at Sogod Bay were successfully harvested. CAFA vice president Rael Beronilla said that the bangus were sold at P170 per kilogram for wholesale and P200 per kilogram for retail. All were sold out.The participating fisherfolks, this month of March, are now set to start the second
part of the project. Feeds and five thousand fingerlings are still provided by BFAR at no cost. The money earned from the first round was used to purchase another cage made of bamboo and drums, according to sources.For the second round of bangus fish cage raising, Beronilla said that a hands-on watch should be done, such as careful observation of the Sogod Bay waters due to the changing season, such as the strong under-the-sea current and the hot summer months.In an interview with Dr. Valerio Cabalo, who invested in bangus fish cage project before typhoon Odette wiped out his fish cage investment of an estimated amount of half a million, he said that careful attention should be given to the purchase of good sources of fingerlings, preferably nearby. When he was in this fish production business five years ago, he had to get his fingerlings from faraway places, which resulted to around 20% mortality rate. However, he learned that recently there are good fingerling stocks in Padre Burgos.The fish cage project was granted by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) under the Special Area for Agriculture Development (SAAD). BFAR will provide material and technical support for two years or more based on the group’s performance. “We will continue to monitor CAFA and the other 2023-2024 batch of people’s organization beneficiaries,” said Lalaine Biong, SAAD coordinator at the BFAR provincial office.According to Coordinator Biong, there are several other Bangus Fish Cage projects in the province and region. In Southern Leyte, there are 23 Bangus farming projects distributed across several municipalities; such as in the Municipality of Saint Bernard, there are five projects; in Malitbog – 6 , Padre Burgos – 6 , Tomas Oppos – 2, Libagon – 4 , Bontoc – 2, Hinunangan – 2, and Silago- 1. These projects are a mix of private and LGU-assisted initiatives, with eight privately assisted Bangus farms and the remainder receiving assistance from LGUs and BFAR.LGU-assisted projects receive funding for fisheries livelihood and projects under the “Malinis at Masaganang Karagatan Livelihood” program, particularly in Hinunangan and Padre Burgos. Beneficiaries of these projects choose Bangus farming and cage livelihood associations. Additionally, under the BFAR CODE’s SAAD projects, there are two associations namely Barangay Canlupao in Tomas Oppus and Nahaong in Libagon.In terms of participation, each association involves 25-40 fisherfolk members. Similar projects existed before, especially before Typhoon Odette struck, causing significant damage. Tomas Oppus had many projects funded by the province during Yolanda Rehabilitation, but these were also affected by Odette. Due to changes in leadership and record-keeping, there were challenges in tracking project outcomes, but mostly, new units are engaged in these initiatives, Lalaine Biong further reported. (AVista, GMR)

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