Watching emptied marine resources and torn corals, a community in an islet stood up and fought illegal fishing.
Ronquillo Marollano, president of Doong (Bantayan) Fishermen’s Association (DOFA), said 90 fisher folks in Barangay Doong have agreed to revive their marine sanctuary last year.
The result has been tremendous so far. Different fish species are already spotted in the area. Large red snappers and stingrays also sought refuge in the 100 hectares fish sanctuary one year removed from its revival.
Provincial Agriculturist Dr. Roldan Saragena said the environment cluster offices of the Capitol have agreed that bantay dagat members should be given incentives.
In a meeting with municipal agriculture officers, Saragena said these protectors of the sea should also be treated as barangay volunteer workers.
In other towns, where there was strict enforcement of the fishery code, the bantay dagat members are treated as job order employees.
Marollano said their members take turns in guarding the waters at night. They would stay at a guard house, in the middle of the sea.
Consistent and as mandated by the country’s fishery laws, he further stated that they have no plans to open the marine sanctuary even to ordinary fisher folk.
Marlon Marande, Bantayan municipal fishery coordinator, said the strict enforcement of marine laws has reaped benefits for the town’s fishermen.
The surrounding waters of Bantayan contributea significant percentage in fish and other sea food supply to the Cebu City market.
The islet of Mambacayao alone supplies 20 to 30 boxes of assorted fish daily, according to Bernardo Cañete, a fish dealer and an aquaculture farmer in the islet.
Sea catches delivered to him include tangigue, katambak and the famous danggit. There are also squid (includes export size), shrimp, crabs, and scallops- all came from the wild.
Cañete, who originally comes from Doong, has lived with his family in the islet of Mambacayaofor already 18 years. His clients are ordinary fisher folk. As part of his crusade against illegal fishing, he does not accept blasted fishes.
Cañete is a member of Lipayran Fishermen’s Association.