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Fishing Villages of Bohol
« on: October 24, 2007, 10:07:20 PM »
Written By Joe Espiritu
Columnist
Bohol Sunday Post


This week, Vice Governor Julius Cesar Herrera voiced alarm on the fate of the fishing villages of Bohol. His concern is the runaway population of those villages and the dwindling fishing grounds. Over the years, the standard of living of those villagers inches closer to the poverty line. Some of them may have attained that level. The solution to that problem seems to be out of sight.

Most fishermen operate individually. They own a banca and basic fishing gear like long lines or driftnets. Fishing goes after demersal or pelagic fishes. Some who cannot afford one use the equipment owned by others giving the owner a share of the catch. Some operate active fishing paraphernalia and relies on other fishermen to join the operation for a share of the catch. To some, this operation is considered big time.

Initially, fishing operations are quite lucrative. However, uncontrolled operations resulted in dwindling catches. This had happened over the years. When an area is fished out, fishers will look for new grounds. The fishing grounds will never expand because of geographical limitations. Fishermen are forced to operate father and father from their homes. Some even migrate to places, which could afford them a living.

Authorities had not yet tried to regulate fishing such as imposing closed and open seasons. There had been not enough research in the life cycle of particular food fishes to enable marine biologists establish the months when closed and open seasons are to be imposed. They had tried this on manta fishing and it is yet too early to expect results. As a result gravis fishes are caught. Some coastal towns are establishing fish sanctuaries. However, poaching becomes a problem.

The Malthisian Theory on food and population seems to be true despite the refutations of some economists. Fisherfolks like farmers .are the most prolific classes of people in the Philippines. With time on their hands, they look upon sex as a type of diversion. Not only that. They consider children ass assets, an SSS investment. The larger the number of children they more secure is their old age.

Although most children are left to themselves to improve, their traditional filial piety compels them to take care of their old folks.

Regulating fishing practices will be quite a feat for any local government.

Controlling a burgeoning population would be difficult. Artificial birth control would run counter to the teachings of the Church. It seems as if the theologians cannot distinguish between contraception, preventing the union of the male and female cells, from abortion, which is murder. Imposing birth control through the rhythm method cannot be imposed on persons of barely basic literacy like the fisherfolk.

It seems as if Vice Gov. Julius Herrera is in a no win situation. He cannot impose regulated fishing without the fisherfolk raising a howl. He cannot impose effective birth control without the Church objecting. The Church, which had been active even on matters political, will not take this lying down. Despite that, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Western countries, particularly the industrialized ones have an almost negative population growth. Young folks either marry late or do not get married at all. If they ever marry, the couple must work to get ahead. Children become a liability.

Some opt to have only one child. The replacement rate went down. Now there are more retired persons than working ones forcing these nations to look for manpower and caretakers beyond their borders. It is interesting to note that those progressive countries are mostly protestant countries outside of China and Japan, which are not Christians. Perhaps it has something to do with religion. Perhaps not. However, it is hard to be religious on an empty stomach. The Vice Gov might find the solution to our problems there.

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Islands Surrounding Bohol and Are Parts of Bohol

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