A Case Study on the Socio-Economic Conditions of the Artisanal Fisheries in the Cagayan De Oro River

A Case Study on the Socio-Economic Conditions of the Artisanal Fisheries in the Cagayan De Oro River

Catherine Roween C. Almaden (Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, Faculty of Economics, Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines)
DOI: 10.4018/IJSESD.2017040102

Abstract

Freshwater fishing is an important socioeconomic aspect of the communities in the Cagayan de Oro River (CDOR), Philippines. The fishery sector in CDOR has the elements that are generally characteristic of artisanal or small-scale fisheries. Before this study, very little was known of the scope and magnitude of artisanal level fishing activities within the CDOR. It has remained undocumented by Local Government Units (LGUs) as it does not contribute directly to the economy in terms of measurable cash flow. However, a number of fishes in the river have higher commercial value compared to marine fisheries in the nearby Macajalar Bay. This study is an attempt to examine the conditions of the CDOR fisheries and to quantify its economic contributions. The economic contribution is measured in terms of the market value of captured aquatic resources. In order to establish the behavior and trends in the fisheries of the different communities, the study area was divided into three sub-zones. Data in this study were collected through interviews of identified fishermen in the different sub-zones. Majority of the fishermen venture into other menial jobs due to proximity to the urban center. Many of them have subsidiary occupations which serve the dual purpose of alternative income and job opportunities and food source because fishing is seasonal. The peak fishing season usually spans two to four months. Comparatively, the earnings derived by the Cagayan de Oro River fishermen are relatively in almost the same range as the marine fishermen in the different parts of the country.
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Introduction

Background of the Study

Small-scale fisheries in developing countries are often perceived as being a low-productivity and backward informal sector. As a result, they are rarely considered in poverty reduction programmes and rural development planning (Béné et al., 2009). It is unrecognized that in the context of unemployment, poverty, lack of capital and well-functioning institutions, flexible and low-cost utilisation of fish resources as a source of employment and food security is highly appropriate (Overå, 2011). Paying attention to social dimensions of this sector is therefore necessary, if resilience of social–ecological systems in a riverine conservation area is to be maintained or enhanced (Moshy et al., 2015).

The Philippines is globally important for its biological diversity and endemism, but much of the studies are centered in terrestrial and marine biodiversity (Mallari et al. 2001; Ong et al. 2002). Little is known about the diversity and status of endemic riverine fishes which are equally valuable as bioindicators of ecosystem health and an integral part of our country’s natural heritage (Vallejo, 1986; Ng et al., 1998).

Cagayan de Oro River (CDOR) is one of the eight major river basins in the Philippines of great economic and ecologic importance. Specifically, freshwater fishing is an important socioeconomic aspect of the communities in the CDOR. However, it has remained undocumented by Local Government Units (LGUs) as it does not contribute directly to the economy in terms of measurable cash flow. Before this study, very little was known of the scope and magnitude of artisanal level fishing activities within the CDOR.

The main objective of this study is to examine the conditions of the CDOR fisheries and to quantify its monetary and economic contributions. The sector not only provides food but also a means of livelihood to the poor communities. However, there is lack of information on the monetary and economic value on its aquatic resources. This information gap means that the need to protect river ecosystems may not be fully appreciated, especially in the face of infrastructure projects and the proliferation of extractive industries around it that can seriously affect water flow and fish habitats.

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Review Of Literature

In 1975, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defined artisanal fisheries as being labour-intensive and conducted by artisanal craftsmen whose level of income, mechanical sophistication, quantity of production, fishing range, political influence, market outlets, employment and social mobility and financial dependence keep them subservient to the economic decisions and operating constraints placed upon them by those who buy their products. This definition encompasses the technological and economic dimensions of the craftsmen engaged in fishing activity. Later, FAO Advisory Committee on Fisheries Research Working Party on Small-scale Fisheries proposed in December 2003 the definition of the concept of small-scale fisheries as:

Small-scale fisheries can be broadly characterized as a dynamic and evolving sector employing labour intensive harvesting, processing and distribution technologies to exploit marine and inland water fishery resources. The activities of this sub-sector, conducted full-time or part-time or just seasonally, are often targeted on supplying fish and fishery products to local and domestic markets, and for subsistence consumption.

The latest definition does not only include the technological but also the comprehensive socio-economic dimensions and the motivations surrounding the sector.

The definition of artisanal fishery varies between countries especially in terms of the activities, the number of persons involved and the technology used. Artisanal fishery is sometimes referred as small-scale fishery. As result of the varying definitions and terms, an accurate picture of this type of fishery is hard to assemble at the global level. The implication means economic importance of the sector remains unaccounted for and national fisheries policy remain unclear (Yumiko, et al., 2004).

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