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Zambales fishermen receive P10-M boats from BFAR.

Zambales fishermen traveling into the West Philippine Sea were given PHP10 million worth of fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) boats by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) regional office here on Thursday.

The boats are motorized and equipped with complete fishing equipment, according to BFAR Regional Director Wilfredo Cruz, and can be utilized by individuals fishing more than 15 kilometers from the shoreline.

“Ine-expect natin na kakayanin ng mga bangkang ito na pumalaot, partikular doon sa Bajo de Masinloc at syempre, maragdagan ang produksyon ng mga isda na nanggagaling sa West Philippine Sea,” Cruz wrote on Facebook.

He explained that the initiative is part of the bureau’s “F/B Pagbabago,” which is one of BFAR National Director Eduardo Gongona’s main projects aimed at improving fishermen’s livelihoods by giving them with long-lasting boats.

According to F/B Pagbabago focal point Pierre Velasco, the new boats will ensure sustainable and responsible fishing not just for the beneficiaries but also for future generations of fishermen.

The ten “mother” boats, each of which is a 38-footer fishing vessel, were given to groups of six to eight fishermen.

Each mother boat is accompanied by a group of six 16-footer “pakura” (powered catcher boats) made of the same materials as the mother boat.

According to Joseph Bitara, officer-in-charge of the Capture Section of the Fisheries Production and Support Division (FPSSD), the catcher boats may be transferred into the larger mother boat, which can then easily unload even offshore.

“By doing so, Masinloc fishermen, who are largely tuna hand liners, will be able to maximize their capture capabilities,” Bitara added.

So far, 70 boats have been delivered to Masinloc’s eligible fisherman.

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