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‘Bantayan aquaculture has recovered’

| by: Xerxes Alkuino

The aqua farming in Bantayan Island has now stabilized after being completely demolished by typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in 2013.

Without mincing words, Diosdado Legaspino said, “Nakabangon nami ron… normal na jud ang tanan (We have recovered, the situation is now normal).”

Legaspino, president, Sulangan, Suba, Sungko Seaweed Association, municipality of Bantayan, is one of the recipients of the rehab inputs distributed by the Cebu Provincial Government in mid 2015. The association has 235 members.

The inputs distributed include grouper (Lapu-lapu) and bangus cages, nets, hook and line, seaweeds, among others.

The province served as the implementing agency of the project. The amount of the rehabilitation was based on the damaged wrought by Yolanda, which is pegged at P33 million, according to BFAR. BFAR downloaded P33 million to the Capitol to implement the agency’s rehabilitation plan.

In Bantayan, there were nine (9) recipients of grouper cages. The beneficiaries were members of a fishermen’s association or the associations themselves. There were three (3) recipients in the municipality of Santa Fe and one (1) in Madridejos.

All the recipients of the fish cages have been into aquaculture prior to the Yolanda devastation.

Legaspino said all his 16 fish cages were destroyed by typhoon Yolanda. Including motor boats and other investments, he estimated his total losses at P7 million.

The high-density polyethylene (HDPE) grouper cages were installed in the waters in Bantayan in the middle of last year. Legaspino has already harvested 4,000 pieces of grouper fish from the two (2) the rehab cages. He said the harvest is bought for P1 million.

Groupers are designed to be harvested in eight to 10 months when their weight reaches at least 500 grams.

Another fisher folk Bernardo Cañete in Mambakayaw Islet of Bantayan, also stated that Yolanda wasted all his capital including pump boats that was also worth millions of pesos.

Cañete is a member of the Lipayran Fishermen’s Association. The fish cage, which he received in behalf of the association, now has 1,770 live groupers from 3,000 fingerlings. He said the mortality is quite high but he thanked anyway that many survived.

He said when he received the cage from BFAR, he also invested and installed his own fixed grouper cage.

Aside from the recovery of fish farming in the town, Legaspino also stated that seaweed farming in his area has also picked up.

However, the seaweed farms in Doong Island (also in Bantayan) were affected by El Niño. The island, which has 2,318 population, according to the 2010 census, relied on seaweed farming as their main livelihood.

Roger Forrosuelo, president, Doong Seaweed Planters’ Association, said they cannot fully claim they have recovered from the typhoon. He said the rise in sea surface temperature caused by El Niño brought ice-ice disease to their seaweeds.

He also added that the most of them were still paying their capital loaned to their buyers. He said the purchase price of dried seaweed drastically dropped from around P60 to P20-P27 per kilo.

Dako jud ug kalahian kung nay tabang sa gobyerno kay dili nami kapangutang sa among buyer. Kalabanan namo diri naay utang… ang uban moabot ug P300,000 (Help from the government would make a difference so that we will no longer borrow capital from our buyers. Most of us have debts… some reach P300,000),” he said.