Ma. Salome B. Bulayog1, Ma. Teresa M. Oliva2, Fe J. Dagoy2, Buenavintura B. Dargantes4, Isabel M. Schaedle5, Elisita R. Ponce6 and Antonia D. Cabayag7
This study describes the socio-economic conditions of selected households in the islands of Apid, Digyo and Mahaba. The data for this study are very limited considering the very short time spent in data collection.
Age of the respondents averaged 39.37 years and most of them attained only the primary level of education. The average number of children is five. Fishing is the main source of livelihood but the people are also engaged in other activities to augment their income. Among these activities are stripping and weaving pandan leave into mats, fish trading, boat construction, animal raising and farming. Farming is not widely practiced since the land is not fit for growing agricultural crops. Farm produce is barely enough for their consumption.
A variety of fish species is caught throughout the year. Daily catch ranges from 5 to 25kg. Quantity of catch depends largely on the season and climate. Some species are abundant during certain periods of the year like squids which is generally abundant during the month of May and June. The respondents said that the lack of capital to buy inputs have forced them to avail of the credit extended to them by the traders within the island. As a consequence, they have to sell their catch at a price dictated by the traders. Another problem mentioned by the fishermen is the encroachment of big commercial fishing boats in the area. The fishermen felt that fishing yield was affected by their presence.
Marine resources in these islands are still abundant. However, with the increase in population and the encroachment of commercial fishing vessels, the problem of overfishing may not be very far. Something should be done to make harvesting of fish and other marine resources sustainable. A policy that would lower fishing efforts would be difficult to implement since fishing in these islands is mostly for subsistence and survival for the fishermen. Forcing fishermen out of their livelihood without an acceptable alternative program will be viewed by many as inequitable and morally unacceptable.
Keywords: biodiversity, fishing effort, marine resources, monsoon, sustainable fishing
Annals of Tropical Research 21:(1999)