DAGUPAN CITY — Mayor Belen Fernandez affirmed that the October 30 deadline for all the illegal fish pens in the waters of Dagupan City to go stands even as she announced that all the rivers will shortly undergo massive dredging.
In an interview, she said the city government bought a long-armed backhoe that is arriving very soon, which will be used for the massive dredging of rivers that are all now shallow.
The coming dredging operation is a boon to all fishermen in Dagupan City because when the rivers are deeper, there will be more fish to be caught aside from the fact that there will be faster flow of runoff water from the upland to the Lingayen Gulf, she said.
“When the dredging is completed, we will possibly allow one small fish cages of five meters by five meters for each poor family living nearby for them to earn a living but each fish cage must conform with the standard and registered, with the owners paying the corresponding fee to the city government,” she said.
Fish pens are now banned by a city ordinance. Only fish cages, fish traps like “puket”, “sure win”,”sky blue” and similar others, as well as oyster beds are allowed.
The dredging operation will complement the ongoing dredging of the Calmay River by two dredging machines of the Department of Public Works and Highways.
Demolition of illegal fish pens by the Task Force Bantay Ilog is going on daily with some 70 fish pens already demolished to date, she added.
She said the Dagupan City Police headed by Supt. Neil Miro, who went with her one time in visiting the rivers, has committed to help the city government enforce the deadline.
Fernandez confirmed that the task force does not allow the fresh stocking of fry in existing fish pens as all the fish pens in the water will have to go on October 30 anyway.
“It is easy to put up fish pens, like those more than 700 given the nod by the previous city administration from 2010 to 2013, but to demolish them took much of our time, energy and resources,” she said.
She said as compared to the condition of the rivers before, it is now much cleaner than in the past and that fishermen who depend their livelihood on the water said they are catching more fish now than before. PNA-northboundasia.com