The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is fulfilling its duty to aid fisherfolk and protect their livelihood by providing programs and services to maintain food safety and security in the country amid the pandemic.
During this difficult time, BFAR has provided P21.9 million worth of seedstock and fishing gear and equipment to fisherfolk and private pond operators to ensure their livelihoods won’t be compromised. The bureau has also distributed fish stock, fingerlings and seaweed since the quarantine started.
Programs like Balik Sigla sa Lawa at Ilog (BASIL) launched in 2017 are still being implemented in fisheries across the country. BASIL is a five-year program that aims to restore lakes and rehabilitate fisheries through scientific methods such as laboratory testing for fish breeds to ensure natural food production. Loboc River in Bohol, which was turned into a fish production site, is one of the few bodies of water restored by the project.
Alongside these programs, services such as information, education, and communication activities, including red tide monitoring, that provide technical assistance to fisherfolk are also being practiced. An initiative called Fish on Wheels was also launched in Cebu for efficient deliveries of fish products to different marketplaces. This service has also expanded to Manila, particularly in Makati, Novaliches, and Quezon City.
These programs and services are designed to sustain the food supply chain, particularly in the agri-fishery sector and to prevent food shortage most especially during challenging times like this. The DA guarantees that there is enough fish supply for the country by the end of the second quarter of the year