On August 7, 2023, the Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) Regional Office IX, under the leadership of Regional Director Al-Zath K. Kunting, RFP, took a significant step towards enhancing fish production in the Zamboanga Peninsula region. Through a tripartite Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signing, two units of 10-meter diameter High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Marine Fish Cages were handed over to the Western Alicia Fisherfolk Association (WAFA). The momentous event took place at the Dawa-dawa Gymnasium in Brgy. Dawa-dawa, Alicia, Zamboanga Sibugay.

The project is a collaboration between DA-BFAR IX, the local government unit of Alicia, represented by municipal Mayor Aldin B. Musa, Al-Hadj, and the beneficiary, Western Alicia Fisherfolk Association, represented by its president, Mr. Alfredo M. Sanchez.

The HDPE Marine Fish Cages, also known as Norwegian Fish Cages due to the technology’s origin, are just one aspect of this comprehensive initiative. The project includes commercial feeds for one cropping, 30,000 pieces of bangus fingerlings, a floating house, two units of Fiber Reinforced Plastic (FRP) Boats, and a budget of Php50,000.00 for Labor and Wages to cover five months of operation. It is estimated that each cage can produce 5.4 tons of fish per cropping, with a calculated value of Php1.5 million.

During the ceremony, RD Kunting assured the fisherfolk beneficiaries of DA-BFAR IX’s ongoing support, which includes post-harvest interventions, such as market linkages and transportation assistance for their harvests. Mayor Musa also expressed the LGU’s commitment to ensuring the project’s successful operation.

The project is one out of four HPDE Marine Fish Cages to be established in the identified sites in the region as part of the bureau’s aquaculture development program to bolster fish production and empower local fisherfolk in Zamboanga Peninsula. The initiative aligns with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s commitment to increase fish production and part of his administration’s efforts for the country’s food security and economic stability gearing towards the #BagongPilipinas .