QUEZON – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has distributed fishing boats, engines, aggregates and other paraphernalia to fishermen's groups in Quezon and Aurora province to ensure their access to resource-rich waters Benham Rise.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said this Friday as he cited reports that foreigners were getting better catch in the area off the country's northeast coast, said to be rich in oil, natural gas, minerals, and marine life.
"May report na ang dami dayuhan nangingisda sa Benham Rise. Sila nakakakuha ng isda na kayo dapat nakakahuli," Piñol told the beneficiaries.
In 2014, 43 percent of fish catch at the Dalahican Fish Port in Quezon came from waters around the Benham Rise, he said.
The 229 recipients were fishermen from the towns of Polilio, Real, General Nakar, Unisan, Gurgos, Panukulan, Burdeos, Sariaya, Lucena, Infanta and Atimonan in Quezon, as well as Baler in Aurora.
Those chosen had an income below the poverty line.
The BFAR distributed the following equipment: 30-foot motorized fiberglass bancas, bottom set gill nets, 50 pieces of life vests, Solar lanterns, markers with accessories, and tuna hand lines
Fifteen off-shore payaos will be deployed in the Benham Bank, the shallowest portion of Benham Rise, the official said. Payaos, or fish aggregating devices, will serve as nests for smaller fish to attract bigger fish such as tuna.
Aside from this, Piñol said he already proposed to President Rodrigo Duterte the construction of infrastructure at Benham Rise to serve as a research facility, a forward station of the weather bureau, and a harbor for fishermen.