City brokers peace between small, big time fishermen PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 24 July 2014 13:39

The city government on Tuesday facilitated a meeting between operators of purse seiners and small-time fishermen in the wake of disputes resulting to violent incidents in some coastal barangays.

Mayor Beng Climaco and City Administrator Antonio Orendain Jr. made the meeting possible which was also attended by City Agriculturist Diosdado Palacat and representatives from the Maritime Police, Coast Guard, Zamboanga City Police Office, Southern Philippines Deep Sea Fishing (SOPHIL) and barangay chairmen from coastal barangays.

Barangay chairpersons spoke in behalf of their constituents, airing their collective fight against illegal fishing and how some bigger fishing operators are encroaching on their municipal waters to the detriment of their small fishing residents.

Labuan chairperson Ronald Maravilla was very emotional in ventilating his concerns over shooting incidents perpetrated by persons under the employ of two fishing operators against residents of his barangay. One of the victims was present during the meeting.

Bolong chairperson Antonio Evangelista echoed Miravilla’s views, citing how marginal fisher folks are being deprived of their meager livelihood.

“[These small fishermen] also have families to feed,” Evangelista said, “they need to make a living.” To continue to rob these fisher folks for their means of livelihood might push them to criminality just so they can support their families, he warned.

He also lamented the numerous lawsuits he filed against abusive fishing operators, only for them to be acquitted.

Both barangay officials agree that the dialogue will pave way to the resolution of the conflicts between the parties.

Maravilla also appealed to operators of purse seiners to comply with the provisions of RA 8550, otherwise known as the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998, which prohibits the fishing by purse seiners within the ten point one (10.1) to fifteen (15) kilometer area from the shoreline in municipal waters.

“I appeal to our operators to fish outside the municipal waters and not within 2-3 miles from the shoreline,” Maravilla entreated. — Claudine Uniana