>Bohol Fish Conservation Week Foolishness?

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An organization of militant fisherfolks says the celebration of the fish conservation week in Bohol is a "farce".
The Bol-anong Kahugpongan sa mga Kabus nga Nangisda (Bokkana) claimed there is nothing to celebrate on the event.
Oct. 16-21 has been declared fish conservation week by the government, but Bokkana insists the events in Bohol show the essence of the celebration is missing and it is hypocrisy to mark the occasion.
In a statement signed by Paulita Destor, Bokkana spokesperson, the group particularly lashed out at the oil exploration off the seas of Bohol as proof of this hypocrisy.
"It is true that fishing has contributed significantly to the catch from the sea which is considered the second source of livelihood behind rice and corn," the statement said.
Bokkana however lamented that while authorities have been going after small fishermen under the guise of environmental protection, they have allowed giant business interest to operate.
The group also blamed the Fisheries Code of 1998, offshore mining and cash crops dealing of Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for the difficult lives that fishermen live.
Bokkana said the contract issued by the Department of Energy to foreign oil companies have given them a legal personality to encroach on municipal sea waters.
"They have caused more destruction to our marine resources by their drilling activities on the ocean floor," Bokkana added.
The group said the law that gives legitimacy to oil exploration is unfair to small fishermen.
It also denounced the hasty issuance of the contract which it claimed did not pass through the normal process saying it was not transparent.
Bokkana said the contract clearly shows that the ruling powers are in cahoots with foreign business interest in exploiting the rich fishing grounds of Bohol

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