Dagupan reclaims fishponds for growth centers

/ 09:52 PM June 16, 2013

DAGUPAN City produces what is arguably the best-tasting milkfish in Luzon. EV ESPIRITU/INQUIRER NORTHERN LUZON

DAGUPAN CITY—The city government plans to reclaim unprofitable or abandoned fishponds to develop new business growth centers, and decongest downtown Dagupan, acting Mayor Belen Fernandez said on Friday.

Fernandez said the government may start transforming the coastal villages of Pantal and Lucao into growth areas because many of the ponds are no longer profitable.


But she said the process would not harm the city’s thriving “bangus” (milkfish) trade, for which the city has become known. “The city government will make sure there is a balance between business and bangus production, for the city to continue to be known as the bangus capital of the world. [But this time], it’s for its quality, not quantity,” she said.

Fernandez said many ponds started failing because of insufficient good water supply.

She cited her family’s abandoned fish farm as an example. “We reduced the stock [of fish being nurtured in ponds], but it was still not profitable, so we just stopped the production,” she said.

“In Dagupan, most of the land are fishponds so it can’t be helped [when we backfill these ponds with earth to expand the land for development], such as those from which the owners no longer earn. Besides, ponds with stagnant water produce bangus that has a muddy smell and we can’t allow that,” she said. “On the other hand, we are encouraging pond owners to expand their farms as there are plenty of untapped ponds,” she added.

According to Fernandez, overproduction and the entry of bangus from other provinces like Bulacan have pushed the price of bangus down from P110 to P80 a kilo.

“If we can’t come up with solutions, all of us will lose,” she said. Yolanda Sotelo, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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