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Bicol fisherfolk enjoy added income from BFAR grant

LEGAZPI CITY (PIA) -- Five coastal villages in Bicol are experiencing a change in their usually slow-paced barrio life. 

The fisherfolk in said areas now benefit from the added income they derive from the processing of smoked fish and tilapia raising thanks to a program of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), which they then sell in the local marketplaces.

The smoked "matambaka" and "galungong" varieties, along with the tilapia, are selling like hotcakes and have become a sideline livelihood for the fisherfolk.

"They are now harvesting the fruit of their labor.  They now have an additional source of income, aside from their main job which is fishing in the sea," said Camille Barbacina, coordinator of Special Area for Agriculture Development (SAAD) program of the BFAR.

“Everyone is just excited about their source of extra income. They should help themselves because there is a government agency that is ready to help and support them,” Barbacina added.

A fisherman under the Poblacion Unified Fisherfolk Association - Castilla prepares fish for smoking. (Photo contributed by BFAR-Bicol)
TINAPA OR SMOKED FISH. Proudly produced by Poblacion Unified Fisherfolk Association - Castilla. (Photo contributed by BFAR - Bicol)

"Ang panahon ngayon ay pabago-bago, malimit malalakas ang alon dito sa amin kaya hindi kami makapaglaot. Dahil sa proyekto na ito ng BFAR na SAAD, nabigyan kami ng pagkakakitaan na hindi sa dagat kundi dito na sa mismong barangay site,” said Juan Martin Hermida, the leader of the Poblacion Unified Fisherfolk Association (PUFA), one of the five groups of small-scale fisherfolks that have diversified their livelihood with the financing grant from BFAR. 

(The weather nowadays is quite unpredictable, and we often experience strong waves here, so we're unable to fish. Thanks to the BFAR's SAAD project, we've been provided with livelihood opportunities right here in our barangay, instead of relying solely on the sea.)

Barbacina, too, is grateful that the members of Poblacion Unified Fisherfolk Association Castilla, as well as those of the other four groups, are “nowadays doing something productive when the sea is dangerous.”

“We know how difficult life can be for fisherfolks when they cannot go out to sea because of stormy weather. This project will surely benefit those who are lacking in source of livelihood,” she said.

The other four groups are the Sta. Magdalena Fisherfolk Association (SMFA)

Tinapa while they're being smoked. (Photo contributed by BFAR Bicol).

and Carriedo-Milabigan Farmers & Fisherfolk Association (CAMIFFA), both in Sorsogon province; the Progreso Fisherfolk Association (PFA) in Catanduanes; the San Lorenzo Ruiz Tilapia Raisers (SLRTR) in Camarines Norte;, and Tigaon Inland Fisherfolk Association (TIFA) in Camarines Sur.

PUFA processed 46 kilograms of big-eyed scads and 20 kilograms of red-tail scads, which were sold at P300 per kilogram.

In addition, the SMFA and the CAMIFFA from Sta. Magdalena and Irosin, Sorsogon, harvested tilapia.

The SMFA earned P12,920 from their harvest, while the CAMIFFA earned a total of P37,120.

Moreover, there were partial tilapia harvests in techno-demo projects that took place across the different provinces in the Bicol region.

The PFA produced 25 kilograms of tilapia, generating a revenue of P4,000.

The TIFA harvested 151 kilograms, earning P20,000. Lastly, the SLRTR in Camarines Norte partially harvested 83 kilograms and generated a total income of P12,450.

According to Barbacina, the SAAD program is extending assistance to small-scale fishermen in 35 municipalities in the Bicol region. (PIA 5)

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Ramil Marianito

Regional Head

Region 5

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