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BFAR: Funds for Rehab Of Aquaculture Allotted

THE PHILIPPINES - The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) 6 has allotted a major portion of its proposed budget for the rehabilitation of the fishery sector in Western Visayas to the aquaculture industry.

Regional Director Drusila Esther Bayate said their rehabilitation plan will focus on the recovery of aquaculture and captured fishery sectors to restore the production areas devastated by typhoon Frank.

A total of P159 million was allotted to aquaculture, based on the BFAR 6 proposal, reports The Visayan Daily Star.

About 15,000 out of the 66,000 hectares of fishpond in Western Visayas region were damaged which translated to about 73,000 metric tons of damaged production.

Bayate said they will prioritize projects with short gestation period as well as seaweed projects and distribution of fingerlings for the aquaculture.

For the captured fisheries, she said, the aim is to replace the lost or damaged fishing gears as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, Bayate also encouraged owners of commercial fishing boats damaged by the typhoon to avail of the interest-free loan of the Agriculture Competitiveness Enhancement Fund.

Damage in the commercial fishing sector in both Panay and Negros have reached P3.3 billion, BFAR figures show.

About 25 commercial fishing vessels in Negros Occidental have capsized or remained missing while municipal fisherfolks have lost their gears.

Negros Occidental BFAR chief Carlito Delfin had earlier urged fishing vessels owners to now submit their applications for the ACEF loans.

Last week, he said that only one applicant has, so far, submitted documents to avail of the non-collateral and no-interest loan.

BFAR officials had earlier said that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo directed concerned agencies to fast-track the processing of the applications so that affected fishermen can get back on their livelihood quick and attend to the needs of their families.