Pamalakaya chairman Fernando Hicap said small fishermen are “enduring” diminishing catch due to the dry spell.
Cesar Ramirez
Help drought-affected fisherfolk, government asked
Ding Cervantes (The Philippine Star) - March 19, 2019 - 12:00am

CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga, Philippines —  Fishermen affected by the dry spell should be provided assistance by the government, a fisherfolk group said.

The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) urged the Department of Agriculture and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to provide immediate relief in the form of economic assistance and subsidy.

“El Niño starves rural people, especially fishers and farmers as they are the frontline casualties of prolonged dry spell. Without delay, BFAR should address this situation by mobilizing its calamity fund to help drought-stricken fishing and rural communities,” Pamalakaya chairman Fernando Hicap said.

Hicap said small fishermen are “enduring” diminishing catch due to the dry spell.

“Fishing during El Niño is more difficult... because fish and other marine species migrate and move to deeper waters where the temperature is cooler. Drought also triggers ecological disturbance such as massive fish kills and red tide... which effectively disrupt our fishing activity,” Hicap said.

Ronnel Arambulo, Pamalakaya coordinator in Laguna de Bay, said fish in the lake during the dry spell develop a certain taste and smell locally known as gilik, leading to a drop in prices.

“The farm gate price of tilapia is now P20 per kilo compared to pre-drought price of P50 per kilo or a 40 percent drop... The farm gate price of milkfish is now P50 per kilo, a 71 percent drop from pre-drought price of P70 per kilo,” Arambulo said.    

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