Flooding the market with imported fish jeopardizes livelihood of fishers -Anakpawis
Manila, Philippines – Former Anakpawis Party-list Rep. Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao today shared the same sentiment of the small fishers group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamalakaya-Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) in the BFAR’s plan to import 45, 000 Metric Tons (MMT) of fish which includes round scad (galunggong) due to alleged shortage of the species.
According to Casilao, fish ban will result to fish hoarding by big traders, and will not affect the prices in the market. The fish ban will also put the livelihood mostly of small fishers in jeopardy as the restriction means no income.
“Small fishers, many of them, rely on hand-to-mouth livelihood. No or measly catch directly means hunger to families. BFAR should stop blaming the poor fishers for the acts of the few. Overfishing and other illegal acts are usually committed by commercial fishing vessels that drain off municipal waters. Fish bans condemns the small fishers to exacerbated hunger and poverty,” Casilao added.
The Davao-based Anakpawis leader also said that “instead of fishing ban that leads to massive importation, BFAR should consider Pamalakaya’s suggestion that it should focus on improving local production instead of importing the fish. Fish imports only benefits traders and big fishing owners; leaving small fishers empty handed and expose to further hunger as well as poverty.”
Last year, Pamalakaya and Anakpawis led series of protest actions against the Department of Agriculture and BFAR in its planned to import galunggong particularty that came from China. It was reported that galunggong from China were injected by formaldehyde as preservative, thus, hazardous to consumers.
Casilao stressed that aside from being a socio-economic issue, this is a potential risk to public health when consumers are exposed to formalyn-injected fish products. The Duterte government is conveniently resorting to importation to cover up its neglect on the supposed development of the fisheries sector, and its measures of fishing bans across the country.
Anakpawis supports Pamalakaya on its opposition to importaton and BFAR’s fishing ban. It asserted that the genuine development of the fish sector is the key on improving productivity and not the callous carrying out of fishing bans that affect the poor section of Filipino fisherfolk in the country. ###