All illegal fish pens in Dagupan City need to go by Oct. 30 – mayor

DAGUPAN CITY — Dagupan Mayor Belen Fernandez has ordered Task Force Bantay Ilog to remove all illegal fish pens in the city’s river system by the end of next month, whether or not they contain bangus fingerlings.

City agriculture officer Emma Molina echoed the mayor’s order during Monday’s flag-raising ceremony at the city plaza here, warning that “no more humanitarian consideration and no more surreptitious release of fingerlings will be allowed” after the deadline.

In her message during the flag-raising ceremony, City Administrator Farah Marie Decano also urged Task Force Bantay Ilog to observe the deadline set by Mayor Fernandez.

“Do not give us the excuse that a fish structure was not demolished because it is still filled with fingerlings. The mayor has already given them enough time until Oct. 30 to harvest their stocks,” Decano told members of the task force.

Molina said her office and Bantay Ilog have been monitoring all fish pens within the navigational lane, giving owners/operators a verbal notice and a letter warning them not to add fingerlings to the structures anymore.

She said a number of owners/operators have attempted to add fingerlings to the pens upon hearing of the deadline set by the mayor but were no longer allowed to do so.

“If it happens that on Oct. 30, we will see fingerlings in their structures, we will have no option but to release them to the river and demolish their structures for good,” she said.

Molina noted that after the deadline, the city will embark on a massive clean-up of the rivers as the city’s newly purchased backhoe will arrive soon.

Six of 10 big structures along the navigational lane are being watched by the city while 60 titled fishponds are under verification by the City Assessor’s Office. PNA