ILOILO CITY -- The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Western Visayas (BFAR-6) turned over some PHP2 million worth of fiberglass boats and patrol boats to selected fisher folks and local government units (LGUs) in Iloilo province Friday afternoon.

Remia Aparri, Regional Director of BFAR-6, said that the distribution was part of the "FB (Fishing Boat) Pagbabago" Fisheries Livelihood Development Program, a pet project of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol.

A total of 20 units of 20-footer fiberglass boats with complete accessories, committed by Piñol when he visited Iloilo last month, were released to fisher folks from the town of Dumangas.

Five units of 30-footer fiberglass boats with complete accessories were also turned over to tuna fishers from the municipality of Miagao.

Aparri said they have been extending similar assistance to Western Visayas as their way of helping marginal fisher folks.

The local government units of San Joaquin, Guimbal, Oton, Ajuy and Carles also received a 30-footer patrol/monitoring boat.

The patrol boats were funded by the office of Senator Loren Legarda but were facilitated by BFAR-6 for all coastal municipalities in Western Visayas, Aparri said.

Meanwhile, BFAR on Friday also organized the national shrimp congress in partnership with the PhilShrimp and Negros Prawn Cooperative. The gathering, held in Bacolod City, drew growers, technical personnel, exhibitors, suppliers of aqua-culture and fishery equipment, feeds and other materials related to shrimp culture.

Aparri said Western Visayas is number one in terms of shrimp contribution to the national production. Negros Occidental in Western Visayas belongs to the top three highest growers of “vannamei” shrimps in the country.

Fishery products, especially vannamei and black tiger shrimps, are in demand abroad. What is lacking is just the production, she said.

The congress would serve as a venue to address the concern and cope with the demand for shrimps, Aparri said,
adding that the event revisited the shrimp roadmap and discussed ways to identify gaps leading to increased production. (PNA)