Fishers’ group seeks dialogue with BFAR on Manila Bay dredging activities
MANILA, Philippines — A fisherfolk group in Cavite is asking the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) officials for a dialogue about the dredging activities in the south of Manila Bay.
In a formal letter sent to BFAR office-in-charge Atty. Demosthenes Escoto, the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas-Cavite asked for a dialogue to present their side, especially the adverse impacts of the dredging activities in Ternate, Naic, and Rosario in Cavite on biodiversity and their livelihood.
The group is requesting BFAR to hold their conference on February 24, the 25th anniversary of the Fisheries Code of 1998.
“The ongoing dredging activities obstruct the fishing livelihood of small fisherfolk in Cavite… We want to get the commitment of BFAR on this particular issue that we will present to them,” Aries Soledad, Pamalakaya-Cavite provincial coordinator, said in a statement Monday.
Several adverse impacts of the dredging activities stated by Pamalakaya were the disruption and driving away of fish due to noise pollution caused by dredging equipment, bigger waves and increased tidal currents in dredging sites, incidents where fishing nets are being hauled by dredging equipment along with the sand, and drastic decline in fish stocks due to dredging-related pollution and stressors.
“We expect that the BFAR would stand in favor of the fisherfolk affected by the dredging and reclamation projects in Manila Bay covering the province of Cavite,” said Soledad.
The Environmental Management Bureau earlier confirmed two ongoing dredging operations in Manila Bay: the San Nicolas Shoal Seabed Quarry Project of VIL Mines Inc. (active since 2022 and covering some 8,530 hectares), and the Seabed Quarry Project of the Philippine Reclamation Authority (beginning in 2021 and covering 5,000 hectares). —Denver Godezano, trainee
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