Some 150 fisherfolks from Lake Sebu have applied to avail the “Convert Now, Pay Later” scheme of the Provincial Environment Management Office (PEMO), a program that will enable them to change their traditional bamboo-made fish pens into permanent and durable plastic-made fish pens.
PEMO’s Environment Management Specialist Loida Villa revealed in an interview that 150 fish farmers who are residents of Lake Sebu have now applied in their office to avail of the “soft loan” program.
“Recipients of this program will pay the cost of the plastic fish cages in an easy 18-month installment plan,” Villa added.
The payment scheme is 40 % on the first payment 30% on the second and last payment.
A memorandum of Agreement will be executed among the parties involved such as the provincial government, Lake Sebu LGU and the fisherfolk.
The fisherfolk will pay a 3% monthly penalty in case it fails to complete the payment after 18 months and also non-renewal of local business permit.
The cost of labor and materials is P20,000.00 for each fish cage operator for a total cost of P3,000,00.00 for the 150 fish pens.
Delivery of the constructed or assembled fish pens will be made within the second to third quarter of the year.
Aside from being a soft loan, Villa stressed, the fish farmer is assured of its long term use with minimal maintenance.
For the past years, PEMO has monitored overloading of tilapia fingerlings in Lake Sebu which resulted to high levels of organic matter in the lake that greatly affects its water circulation.
Poor water circulation in the lake often results to water pollution, a PEMO report said.
But with the introduction of uniform plastic fish pen structures, PEMO is confident that it could further enhance the thriving aquaculture industry of Lake Sebu as well as improve its panoramic view which is a “come-on” for tourism.
Source of funds of the project comes from the province’s 5% Calamity Fund for calendar year 2015.