The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Central Visayas has urged local government units (LGU) to support fishermen and fish traders that are currently affected by the enhanced community quarantine during the coronavirus pandemic, specifically on the issue of border control.
BFAR-7 Regional Director Allan Poquita said that the fishing industry has been crippled by the pandemic, sharing the plight of the fisherfolk who have been affected by town lockdowns as it had been difficult to transport their harvest through borders, thus impacting their livelihood.
There are two known fishing landing centers in Metro Cebu, one in Barangay Pasil in Cebu City and the other in the Danao City fishport.
“We fully support the measures imposed by the LGU but we are also asking their help to address the plight of our fishery stakeholders,” Poquita said as he urged local officials to allow fish dealers and traders to have access in going into and out from the fishing landing centers in the region.
On the BFAR’s part, they have been issuing food passes to suppliers and truckers to grant them privilege to get through checkpoints so that there will be unhampered movement of cargo, fishery inputs and any other food products.
Poquita also urged LGU through the Municipal Agriculture Office, to facilitate transport of fish products for the landing centers to their fish markets to ensure availability of fish commodities in their area.
He also proposed that local officials could even offer to procure the fish products available in their market as relief goods to be given to households, as well as to put up mini fish markets which should be accessible to assist marginal fishermen sell their fish catch.
Fisherfolks and fish traders lamented the slowdown of sales because despite the sufficient fish supply, only a few dealers or customers get to buy their products.
Since some types of fishes are perishable, some vendors were forced to sell their products at very low prices just so they can dispose of them for earnings.