Shall we catch fish with our bare hands?
This question was hurled at Davao City councilor Leonardo Avila by a fishermen’s group as the Davao City Council nears approval of the City Fisheries Code of 2008.
The code, authored by Avila, chair of the committee on environment, according to the Alyansa sa mga Mananagat sa Davao, outlaws several active fishing methods commonly used by marginal fishermen. If these are outlawed, we will be left with no means of fishing, said the group.
In a letter in the vernacular to Vice Mayor Sara Duterte, the group deplored lack of consultation with small fishermen who depend on fishing for livelihood. The city council has been reviewing and approving sections of the code during regular sessions and the code is expected to be set to a vote this month.
The group also scored fees to be charged on fishermen, who are also required to register their small fishing boats, saying it would have dire economic impact on marginal fishermen netting only two kilos of fish a day.
While assailing the fees—and fines for violations that go up to P500—the group also lashed at failure of authorities to stop commercial fishing encroaching into the municipal waters that the code pegs at within 10 kms from the shore. It said the encroachment leads to monopoly of marine resources by commercial fishermen at the expense of marginal fishermen.