The Municipality of Lake Sebu in Mindanao; Philippines offers various opportunities for income-generating fishing activities with its abundant surface water bodies. Lake Sebu is particularly known for good quality tilapia; farmed in fish cages. This study employed primary data collection methods; namely key informant interview; focus group discussion and a comprehensive livelihood household survey to assess the conditions and problems constraining fishing households in Lake Sebu. The study found that fishing-related benefits were mainly derived from aquaculture. Capture fisheries are essentially very small-scale; low gear open fishing done by local fisher folk that generates only subsistence income. Local residents are mostly engaged in retail fish trading that likewise generate only subsistence income. Survey results also revealed large variations in the scale of aquaculture operations. Fish cage owners; who are not originally from Lake Sebu or have residences outside Lake Sebu; are usually the large-scale fish farm operators; while the locals are only engaged in small-scale aquaculture due to limited financial sources. The study found that on the average; fishing-dependent households earned an annual income of PHP 132,800 (US$ 2619); which was 15% lower than the average for all household respondents; and that a substantial 63% of fishing-dependent households live below the poverty line. It appears; therefore; that the rich water resources in the municipality have not contributed substantially to poverty alleviation. These findings point to the need for government assistance such as aquaculture financing programs and the formation of fish farming cooperatives to enable locals to engage in large-scale fish farming and reap the benefits of economies of scale.
Palanca-Tan, R., & Bongat-Bayog, S. (2021). Fishing and rural livelihood: A Philippine context. Open Journal of Animal Sciences, 11(1), 84-95. DOI: 10.4236/ojas.2021.111007