Declining fish catch has prompted the fishing community of Green Island in Roxas to seek government support to help them process dried fish as additional income.
Cherlie Sornito, chairperson of the Silangan Seaweeds and Fishing Association (SSFA), said they need to develop alternative sources of income due to the declining amount of fish caught using traditional fishing methods.
Sornito told Palawan News they have submitted a proposal for funding to their mother organization, the Northern Palawan Fisheries Cooperative (NPFC). This is in consolidation to their project request made to the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) for a P100 thousand livelihood project grant for “lamayo” processing.
The NPFC is composed of various fishing associations in the towns of Roxas, Taytay, and Dumaran, with around 120 members.
“Gusto natin kahit papaano ay merong sources of income ang mga members ng association. Ang seaweeds ay seasonal lang yan, lalo na ang pangingisda, paunti ng paunti ang kuhang isda. Paano naman ang may mga pinapaaral sa college? Kailangan talaga ng dagdag kita para sa mga mangingisda,” she said.
Livelihood projects like fish processing, she explained, will need freezers and other tools for product preservation.
She said their venture into the production of lamayo and other fish processing activities was triggered by the demand from newly opened resorts and restaurants in nearby Tumarbong Village in Roxas.
Norma Caymo, treasurer of the association, whose family also relies on fishing, said their traditional practice described as “pukot” no longer produces the same yield like they used to.
“Isang hulog ng net na may pitong putol pag binalikan namin pagkatapos ng mahigit isang oras ay limang kilo ng isda na lang talaga ang nakukuha,” she said.
“Sa isang dilim (night without moon), kung mababa ang dagat ay nakakakuha kami ng hanggang 30 kilos pero bihira na lang nakaka-abot ng 30 talaga at pinakamaliit ay sampung kilo,” she added.