New fishing boats, gears bring better income to fisherfolks in Quezon

The coastal communities in the Quezon province are gifted with rich natural resources, both in land and sea. It is a major coconut producer and fishing thrives in Tayabas Bay. Despite these advantages, the province still has the highest poverty incidence in Region IV-A.

With the limited capital and skills, there is simply no means for people to harness these resources.

The Yakap at Halik Multi-Purpose Cooperative Quezon 2, with the support from PEF, introduced coastal resource management and social enterprises in the towns of Padre Burgos, Agdangan, and Unisan that will improve the living conditions of poor households in the community. The project includes provision of new boats and gears, and support to fishpond and fish cages. 

These projects, aimed at increasing the income of 40 fisherfolks in the area, are also meant to protect the environment and make coastal resources more productive.

24 new fishing boats sail to a brighter future

With smiles on their faces, the fisherfolks in the town of Padre Burgos watched as the local babaylans bless their new fishing boats and gears. 

In its effort to improve the major means of livelihood of the fisherfolks-members of YHMPCQ2, PEF gave a subsidized loan for fishing boats and gears of 24 fisherfolks in the community.

“Noon, nakikisali lang sila sa mga may bangka. May share lang sila sa kita,” PEF area officer, Peter Nabong said.

Nabong shared that some of the fisherfolks already earn PHP 3,000 to PHP 7,000 in one day alone through the new boats.  

The fisherfolks with new boats and fishing gears are expected to generate an incremental income of PHP 55,000 per year.

 Raising the enterprise to benefit fisherfolks

 Recognizing the difficulty to fish in Tayabas Bay from November until March because of amihan, the PEF and YHMPCQ2 financed 40 fish cages and the fishpond operations in Padre Burgos to generate extra income to the fisherfolks and the cooperative.

With this provision, the fisherfolks can harvest bangus, mudcrab, and sugpo from the cages, and grouper and lapu-lapu from the fishpond. While the fisherfolks will be in-charge of feeding of the fishes and managing of cages and the pond, the cooperative will provide the fingerlings and feeds, and will also help in the marketing of harvested fish.

To equip the YHMPC with knowledge in aquaculture, PEF tapped social enterprise partner Kapunungan sa Gagmay'ng Mangingisda sa Concepcion chairman and community leader Roberto Ballon in the training of the fisherfolks.

Mr. Ballon is also instrumental in introducing new design for the fish cages to lessen the mortality rate of the groupers. 

 Fisherfolks spearheads mangrove reforestation in Tayabas Bay

 According to World Wild Fund for Nature website, mangrove forests serve as a sanctuary for a large variety of fish, crab, shrimp, and mollusk species. These fisheries are essential in providing food to millions of people. Mangroves also helps in stabilizing the coastline and prevents erosion from waves and storms.

 As part of the environmental protection component of PEF’s area-focused development strategy in Quezon, PEF allocated PHP 300,000 for mangrove reforestation and coastal resource management training to YHMPCQ2.

According to Nabong, protecting the environment in the coastal areas is essential in sustaining the livelihood activities of the fisherfolks.

“For long-term sustainability of our projects, kailangan talaga nating pangalagaan ang environment,” he said.

The Tayabas Bay has suffered from extensive dynamite fishing in the past, which destroyed the natural habitat of the fishes. These effects can be reversed by planting mangroves.

Tutulong din kaming mag-establish ng mga bantay-dagat upang protektahan ang karagatan laban sa mga illegal fishermen at para maprotektahan din ang mga fish sanctuaries sa area,” Nabong added.