Expansion of Aquasilvi Project in Virac Okayed

The Sangguniang Bayan has approved the expansion of the aquasilvi culture project that was initially established in barangay Magnesia del Sur six months ago.

This was disclosed during the Aquasilvi Culture Field Day held Aug. 25 during which a test catch showed that some of the 1,015 crablets seeded into the two enclosures at the 48-hectare mangrove park had already grown at as much as 300 grams.

Councilor Ephraim Antonio "Toy" Gianan, chairman of the SB Committee on Agriculture, said that with the passage of the resolution endorsing the project, the memorandum of agreement covering the expansion is ready for signing by Mayor Jose U. Alberto II.

In lauding the municipal agriculture office, Provincial Agricultural Support Office, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the office of Gov. Joseph Cua for the success of the project, Gianan called on the members of the Samahan ng mga Maliliit na Mangingisda ng Magnesia del Sur to remember that they should earn from the project so as to sustain their interest in making it work. He likewise advised BFAR and other government agencies to provide help on technical matters 24/7 through text or call messages.

Vice Mayor Roy Laynes, who represented Mayor Alberto, said the expansion would give livelihood to marginal fishermen and at the same time conserve mangrove resources. Three more barangays will be given similar projects to benefit fisherfolks to be displaced by the proposed marine sanctuary in the capital town, informed Rodel Bordeos, chairman of the Municipal Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council (MFARMC). Also present during the field day were Rev. Fr. Felix Mira, municipal agriculturist Jessie Urbano, MPDC Urgel Santelices, BFAR personnel, and Virac agriculture technicians involved in the project.

On the other hand, BFAR provincial director Mario Andayog said the environment-friendly banner project of the BFAR and DENR has produced good results but nevertheless some loopholes have to be checked and procedures have to be refined. The project would be replicated in other towns along with the introduction of new technologies like the "payaw" fishing method, he added.

Barangay chairman Gerrybel Bautista said implementing the project was hard but the 32 fishermen members and the barangay did their part. "Our next aim is to be the crab capital of Virac, especially now that we realize the great wealth that has been given to us by God," he said.

Funded with P149,800.00, the project consists of two enclosures consisting of nets strung on bamboo stakes around a one-hectare area of the swamp, without destroying any part of the mangrove. The area between the two enclosures would be used to raise tilapia and bangus.

Source: Catanduanes Tribune, 03 September 2010