The Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) has set sail the first 62-footer fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) tuna handline fishing boat under the Bureau’s Capacitating Municipal Fisherfolk program in its inaugural ceremony at the Pacificfortia Marine Technologies Inc. Subic Facility in Subic, Zambales on Wednesday, September 21.

Coined as DA-BFAR’s first-of-a-kind project of providing bigger and upgraded fishing boats to municipal fisherfolk, the project will pave the way for the improvement of socio-economic well-being of small-scale fishers, whose capacity and efficiency of applied fishing technologies are limited.

“Ang programang ito ay bunga ng isang makabagong kaisipan na kung saan binigyang pansin ang modernisasyon bilang daan sa pagbibigay ng oportunidad upang mas kumita ang ating mga mangingisda sa munisipal na katubigan. Mas malalaking bangka, mas malayong distansya ang mararating at maraming huli ang maiuuwi (This program is a product of an innovative mindset that is centered on modernization as a measure to promote opportunities for our fisherfolk in order for them to yield profit in municipal waters. Bigger boats would mean longer distances to be sailed and abundant fish catch),” DA-BFAR OIC-Director Atty. Demosthenes Escoto emphasized in his inaugural message.

In line with the government’s objective to equip and modernize municipal fisherfolk with upgraded and appropriate fishing vessels, the provision of 62-footer FRP handline and bagnet fishing boats is aimed at capacitating small-scale fisherfolk at the municipal fishing waters towards an improved fish catch, as well as enabling them to significantly contribute in the production of tuna and small pelagics like sardines (tamban) to enhance fish supply and food security nationwide.

Apart from these, the Program aims to advance fisherfolk cooperatives/associations capability in running the project as an enterprise to ensure sustainability and tangible benefits to beneficiaries.

“Sa ating mga bayaning mangingisda na tatanggap ng mga bangkang ito, kayo ay hinihimok ng ating pamahalaan upang manatiling kabalikat sa mga inisyatiba ng DA-BFAR. Sama-sama po tayong magtulungan upang makamit ang isang masagana at sustenableng sektor ng pangisdaan (To our fisherfolk heroes who will receive these boats, the government encourages you to remain as pillars in the initiatives of DA-BFAR. Let us work together in order to achieve an abundant and sustainable fisheries sector),” the OIC-Director underscored.

The DA-BFAR program in Capacitating Municipal Fisherfolks is being promoted to improve cooperation, collaboration, and strengthened partnerships among sectors to support small fisherfolk cooperatives and help coastal communities grow and prosper.

The newly-unveiled vessel is part of the 33-unit contract with Pacificfortia Marine Technologies Inc., a local Philippine-registered boat manufacturer, for the acquisition and allocation of 27 units of FRP 62-footer handline fishing boat costing Php 6.3 million each and 6 units of FRP 62-footer bagnet fishing boat costing Php 6.4 million each.

Earlier in February, also under the DA-BFAR program, two units of steel-hulled ringnet fishing vessels were launched that will be turned-over this year to select fisherfolk associations in Region I (Ilocos Region) and Region VIII (Eastern Visayas). Another two units will be awarded to fisherfolks in Region IVB (MIMAROPA) and Region IX (Zamboanga) in early 2023.

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