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Whale sharks, Lapu-Lapu’s marine resources need protection: Create Bantay Dagat group

Lapu-Lapu officials appeal to Mayor Chan to create group to protect city's seas

By: Futch Anthony Inso - Multimedia Correspondent - CDN Digital | June 24,2023 - 11:17 AM

A whale shark is spotted off the seas of Barangay Marigondon in Lapu-Lapu City in May 2022. | Contributed photo

A whale shark is spotted off the seas of Barangay Marigondon in Lapu-Lapu City in May 2022. | Contributed photo via Futch Anthony Inso

Two Lapu-Lapu City officials are calling for the establishment of a “Bantay Dagat” group to protect the city’s rich marine resources.

Councilor Annabeth Cuizon and City Agriculture and Fishery Office (CAFO) head Alex Baring are urging Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan to create this “Bantay Dagat” group to ensure the preserviation of marine resources against those practicing illegal fishing in the city’s seas.

Baring said that aside from having crystal blue and white sand beaches, the city government should also protect several marine resources such as whale sharks and the sardine run that could be seen in seas off Barangay Maribago.

Whale sharks, sardine run

He said that the presence of whale sharks and that of the sardine run had driven tourists to visit the city.

But he warned that he had received some reports that some fishermen were using nets to catch sardines in Barangay Maribago.

“Ang akoa nga i-prohibit lang unta ang pagpangisda sa sardines gamit ang net. Kun string and hook, okay lang na siya,” Baring said.

(On my part, fishing using nets to catch sardines should be prohibited. If they are using string and hook, then that is okay with me.)

READ: Lawlessness in our oceans imperils PH’s food security and the lives of poor fisherfolk

Measure to regulate fishing of sardines

Baring said that he already proposed to the City Council since 2022 to craft an ordinance that would regulate the fishing of sardines in the area.

But Baring said that his proposal had yet to be approved by the City Council.

He also received a suggestion that instead of passing an ordinance, the mayor would just issue an executive order for this purpose.

 “Gi-downgrade into EO, pero wala pa man,” he added.

(It can be downgraded into an EO, but it is still not done yet.)

READ: Lapu-Lapu to deploy spotters in a bid to stop illegal fishing

Spotters in coastal barangays

Earlier, the mayor said that the city would deploy spotters in the coastal barangays to monitor illegal fishing activities.

This was after Dr. Jeffrey Lim posted on his Facebook account showing dynamite fishing activities in the seawaters of Punta West in Barangay Punta Engaño in May this year. 

This was after they found dead fish at the bottom of the sea.

However, there were no spotters that were deployed in the different barangays yet. The only spotters that were currently deployed were assigned in monitoring the whale sharks that were seen roaming in the seawaters of Barangay Marigondon to Punta Engaño.

Baring also noticed that some illegal fishers were already fishing at the marine sanctuary in Barangay Caohagan.

READ: Nine fishermen apprehended for illegal fishing in Cordova

CAFO: No budget

Aside from not having a “Bantay Dagat” group, Baring said he felt demoralized because CAFO had no budget allotted to it.

He said that CAFO had no equipment for their operation either.

He also said that other municipalities would allocate millions for their agriculture and fishery programs.

Currently, Baring said that they were just relying upon the barangays and fisherfolk associations to help them monitor the city’s coastal waters.

However, since fisherfolk associations were not deputized by the city, they do not have the authority to apprehend these illegal fishers.

READ: Cebu City Bantay Dagat Commission to establish fishermen’s cooperative

Revive Bantay Dagat

Councilor Annabeth Cuizon also joined the call of Baring in establishing a “Bantay Dagat” group that would monitor the coastal waters 24/7.

“Kita man gud (ko nga) nindot gyud unta nga ma-revive ang atong Bantay dagat. Nindot siya ug duna gyud tay mag-roving, duna gyuy magtan-aw,” Cuizon said.

(I see that it will be good to revive the Bantay Dagat. It will be good because there will be somebody to do roving, somebody will really watch over the seas.)

Cuizon also urged barangay officials, especially coastal barangays, to actively monitor their coastal waters and implement the law against illegal fishing activities.

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TAGS: Lapu-Lapu City, whale sharks

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