With its new Fisheries Code taking effect this year, the Taytay municipal government is aiming to focus on their conservation efforts in Taytay Bay and boost local fisheries incomes.
Under the updated code, all of the fisheries revenue will be channeled to fund the management of Taytay Bay, unlike before when it was shared with the Malampaya Sound Protected Landscape and Seascape (MSPLS), which also gets funding from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
“Since it’s been revised, all the fisheries revenue will now go to Taytay Bay,” said Liza Magbanua, chairperson of the Sangguniang Bayan’s agriculture and fisheries committee.
For the past three years, Magbanua said the town consistently raked in around P4 million in fishery revenue every year. “It could go higher if we’re to improve the collection from exclusive fishery privilege and auxiliary invoice,” she told Palawan News on Monday, February 5.
She said P2 million of the total collection normally go to the general fund. But under the old code, 60% of the remaining P2 million was channeled to Taytay Bay, while 40% were given to Malampaya Sound.
Of the 192,000-hectare coverage of Taytay Bay spanning across 16 barangays, 17,134.39 hectares are considered a marine habitat with outstanding seagrass, mangroves and coral cover.
The agriculture and fisheries committee head said the fisheries revenue would help in managing the bay’s rich resources by hiring more workers under the town’s newly-created fisheries services division tasked to do law enforcement and information campaigns.
She added that a big portion of the revenue will also be allotted to livelihood programs for fisherfolks, which includes giving out boat engines, fishing nets, seaweeds paraphernalia, among others.
Meanwhile, Magbanua said the municipal government will still support the management of Malampaya Sound through signing an agreement memorandum with the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB).
“For instance, the local government and the PAMB would agree that the former will allocate funds to the latter’s activities like law enforcement and meetings until they can stand on their own,” she added.
Through the Integrated Protected Area Plan (IPAP), the councilor said the PAMB can generate its income from the fishery fee collection if the controlled fishing activities are inside the protected area.
“They have the same fees we’re collecting as stated in the Fisheries Code,” she added.
Magbanua said the PAMB can also have its income from the penalties imposed on fishers who entered without fisherfolks’ card and used active fishing gears and unlicensed vessels inside the protected area.