Cebu Province launched its first Aqua-Marine Products Trade Fair and Exhibit on May 26 in front of BAEX building within the Capitol compound.
Themed “Kadagatan Alimahan, Paglaum sa Kabataan,” the five-day fair celebrates Anti-Illegal Fishing Consciousness Week and Month of the Ocean.
A wide variety of products, such as dried fishes, dried squid, edible and decorative seashells, seaweed extracts and fertilizers are sold at lesser prices compared to market price.
Participating towns and city are Santa Fe, Bantayan, Cordova, Danao, Consolacion, Daanbantayan, Alcantara, Sibonga, Minglanilla, Balamban, and Talisay.
Noting the featured products, Cebu Vice Governor Agnes Magpale remarked that Cebuanos are “bound to lose all these if abuses of the seas’ resources continue.”
She reminded the public that sea protection is everybody’s responsibility. She added that sustained efforts against illegal fishing are a must.
Cebu Provincial Agriculturist Roldan Saragena emphasized the importance of the sea in Cebuanos’ livelihood.
“Ang kadagatan angay ampingan tungod daghang kinabuhi ang nag-depende niini (The sea should be taken care of because many lives depend on it for survival),” he said.
According to Ret. Col. Romeo Tapayan, head of the Cebu Provincial Anti-Illegal Fishing Task Force (CPAIFTF), total eradication of illegal fishers is very challenging due to Cebu’s long shoreline.
“What we can do for now is to minimize them. Kon di man gyud ma-totally eradicate, mabawasan lang unta,” he added.
Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III emphasized that the province is “serious in the efforts to stop illegal fishing.”
However, he admitted that the province cannot do the task alone especially with the task force’s limited manpower. “That’s why we’re asking help from the Philippine Navy, Coast Guard, local government units, and everyone else,” he added.
Davide urged everyone to cooperate and support each other’s efforts against illegal fishing. He also urged the fisherfolk to organize themselves and help the province in capturing illegal fishers.
“Kung magkahiusa ta (If we’re united), there will be more economic development especially for the poor,” he said.