Science Diliman, Vol 12, No 2 (2000)

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Milkfish (Chanos chanos) Fry Concession System in Bolinao, Pangasinan: Implications to Coastal Resources Management

Severino Salmo III, Marie Antonette Juinio-Meñez, Porfirio Aliño

Abstract


The ecological and socioeconomic implications of the concession system on milkfish (Chanos chanos Forssk.) fry in Bolinao, Pangasinan were evaluated from 1996 to 1999. Monitoring of landed catch from 1996 to 1998 showed that the seasonal trend and annual volume of catch varied widely during the three-year period. The fry season in 1996 and 1997 lasted seven months, starting from the second week of April to the second week of October. However, during the 1998 season, fry were available for eight months starting in the second week of March and ending in November. The peak period also varied considerably during the three-year period. In 1996, peak abundance of fry was observed in the last week of July while in 1997 and 1998, the peak was during the second week of May. The volume of total catch for the entire season also varied widely, from as low as ~400,000 fry (1997) to as high as 2,400,000 fry (1996). The concessionaire “postor” has the sole right to buy all fry caught within the municipal waters. Thus, s/he dictates the buying price. Moreover, the existing concession system has no mechanism to regulate harvest of milkfish fry gathering. This arrangement allows the concessionaire to enjoy huge economic benefits while the fry gatherers only get a minimal share in the income. To promote sustainable and equitable harvest of milkfish fry, a new access arrangement through a permit system was proposed by the fry gatherers. The proposed permit system will promote a sustainable harvest of milkfish fry through the implementation of a closed period during the fry season. Compared to the present concession system, the permit system is believed to be more equitable because of the abolition of the 1/3 cut levied by the concessionaire on the landed catch. The permit system also facilitates a mechanism that provides for transparency on the selling/buying price. More importantly, fry gatherers will have the opportunity to sell to buyers offering a relatively higher buying price. In addition, fry gatherers may also opt to grow out milkfish fry to fingerlings which may potentially give them higher economic returns for their catch.

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