Mayor Dalipe extols local fisherfolk for their resilience amid challenges

Mayor John Dalipe has conveyed his gratitude to the local fisherfolk for their resilience and dedication as he graced the 13 th Open Fishing Season for Sardines on Wednesday, Feb. 14, at the Conference Room of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Regional Office 9 on R.T. Lim Boulevard, this city.

The event marked the end of the three-month pause on fishing sardines [from Nov. 14, 2023 to Feb. 14, 2024] in the Zamboanga Peninsula, particularly in East Sulu Sea, Basilan Strait and Sibuguey Bay—the country’s largest sardine fishing grounds, according to BFAR.

In his message, Dalipe cited the indispensable role the fisherfolk play in sustaining the city’s vibrant sardine industry.

“This occasion not only marks the celebration of our maritime but also underscores the invaluable contribution of our local fishery sector to the economy of Zamboanga City and the entire nation,” Dalipe said as he thanked the BFAR 9 headed by Regional Director Al-Zath K. Kunting for spearheading the event, which coincided with Valentine’s Day celebration.

According to him, the sardines industry believed to be the “Silver of the Sea” holds a special place in the heart of Zamboanga City.

“Beyond its economic significance, the industry is a testament to the resilience and hard work of our fisherfolk [as they] navigate the vast seas to bring forth its fresh bounty. It provides livelihood to many families, strengthens our local economy and contributes significantly to the national food security agenda,” Dalipe further said.

In the face of challenges, the local chief executive rallied the fisherfolk to remain steadfast in their commitment to sustainable fishing practices, environmental stewardship and the well-being of the fishing communities.

“Together, we can assure that the bountiful seas that surround us today will continue to provide for the generations to come,” he said, stressing that this year’s open fishing season is a symbol of unity, resilience and shared responsibility.

“Let us celebrate our achievements, acknowledge our challenges and reaffirm our commitment to the success of our sardines industry in Zamboanga City and the entire nation,” Dalipe concluded.

The mayor’s speech was followed by the ceremonial banging of gong, signaling the send-off of fishing fleets.

Also in attendance were Vice Mayor Josephine Pareja, Sibuco Municipal Mayor Joel M. Ventura, Department of Agriculture (DA) Assistant Regional Director Melba Wee, SOPHIL Fishing Association Inc. President Engr. Julius V. Daniel, Jose Rizal Memorial State University (JRMSU) President Dr. Maria Rio A. Naguit, Dr. Mohammadtaha Pendaliday, representing the BARMM Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform; and representatives from the Coast Guard, Maritime Police, academe and other sectors.-(Vic Larato)