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Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Mindoro town fishers make record tuna harvests via gov’t tech aid

By Miguel Gil

SAN JOSE, Occidental Mindoro – A newly-formed fisherfolk cooperative in this town has reported making record catches of tuna, thanks to PHP3 million worth of equipment and technology it recently received from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

In an interview on Thursday, Eduardo Santesteban, chair of the San Agustin Lambaklad Fisherfolk Association (SALFA), said that earlier this week, his members managed to catch some 350 kilos of tuna in a single outing using the “lambaklad” system and accompanying equipment given to them by BFAR.

Lambaklad is a fishing method using nets and ropes instead of bamboo poles laid down in a deep portion of the sea.

It resembles the operation of the ordinary bamboo stake trap but differs mainly in the materials and method of construction, and is a more environment-friendly method of fishing, according to the Philippine Rural Development Project.

“Our catch of tuna this week was truly exceptional… we don’t expect to catch as much every day. However, on average, our harvests have really spiked significantly since we have been receiving technical and logistical assistance from BFAR,” he told the Philippine News Agency in Filipino.

Santesteban said that because of the productivity boost achieved through the government’s intervention, they are looking to expand SALFA’s membership, which now stands at only 38 individuals, and adopt a more corporate style of management.

He said that in September 2023, SALFA received the provincial government’s approval to become a full-fledged “cooperative,” which entitles it to more incentives than what was made available when it was a mere “association” of fishermen.

Santesteban said his members have been undergoing skills upgrading after the town’s Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO) recommended them for free seminars at the College of Business, Administration, and Management (CBAM) of the Occidental Mindoro State College.

On Thursday, some 60 participants composed of SALFA members, their spouses and applicants to the cooperative, completed a two-day seminar on financial literacy and cooperative business operations conducted by CBAM.

Santesteban said now that SALFA has attained cooperative status, its members can look forward to being paid dividends at the end of the year such as those received by stockholders of corporations, on top of the money they earn from their daily fishing activities. (PNA)

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