DAGUPAN CITY—By September 18, not a single illegal fish pen should be left in this city’s rivers.
The head of a city government task force had set this goal after Mayor
Belen Fernandez granted his group a 15-working day extension to dismantle all the pens, starting Sept. 1.
Ronnie Cayabyab, team leader of the city’s Task Force Bantay Ilog, said about 60 large fish pens were still operating in the city’s rivers.
The task force has been clearing rivers here of illegal fishing structures after Fernandez gave pen owners until Aug. 31 to dismantle them.
City agriculturist Emma Molina said there were about 205 pens in the Calmay and Dagupan rivers, 48 of them supposedly former ponds that eroded into the river. Each pen is stocked with thousands of bangus (milkfish), a fish that had made this city famous.
The city’s rivers were cleared of fishing structures in 2010 when then Mayor Benjamin Lim ordered a massive dismantling operation to “allow the city’s rivers to breathe.”
But from March to April this year, the pens sprouted like mushrooms in the city’s rivers. Gabriel Cardinoza, Inquirer Northern Luzon