DAGUPAN CITY — The Task Force Bantay Ilog here has demolished 12 more illegal fish pens this week.
Maximo Solis, executive officer of the task force, said there is now a total of 60 fish pens that have been demolished since January this year.
Task Force Bantay is now concentrating on distributing forms for the application of Aquatic Lease Agreement (ALA) to owners of fish cages, fish traps and oyster beds that were allowed to remain in the city’s rivers.
Per order of Mayor Belen Fernandez, the demolition of illegal fish pens is still continuing without let-up till this kind of structures are finally gone.
Fish cages must conform to the size of five meters by five meters, and fish traps and oyster beds. Also, owners are required to obtain their respective ALAs with the city government and pay the required fees.
Solis said the fish pens must conform with the standard size prescribed by the city ordinance, otherwise, they would also be subjected to demolition.
Under the ordinance that took effect last year, fish pens are banned in all the waters of Dagupan City.
Solis admitted that under the ordinance, only marginal families and residents of Dagupan are permitted to secure their respective ALAs with the city government and all those who have more in life will be shooed away.
In the past, rich people who were not even from Dagupan, were the ones financing the operations of illegal fish pens with the small fishermen usually being tapped as caretakers.
Under a policy approved by Mayor Fernandez, it is the small fishermen who now own fish cages, fish traps and oyster beds. PNA/northboundasia.com