By Minerva Newman

CEBU CITY – Fishermen in Central Visayas turn to online selling of seafood products to earn a living with limited access to their regular markets due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Dr. Allan Poquita, the Regional Director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR-7) here that he has noted the rising number of people venturing into selling seafood online because fisherfolk had difficulty bringing their products to the market due to the quarantine imposed in many areas.

“We are happy that people are venturing into this enterprise to cater to the needs of people in their localities nowadays,” Poquita said during the regular virtual talk show hosted by OPAV assistant secretary Jonji Gonzales and aired live at its Facebook page.

Provincial fishery officers in Central Visayas who also joined the online talk show, shared the same observation saying that many people have responded to the situation by selling seafood products online or peddling them.

Provincial fishery officer Candido Samijon of BFAR-Bohol said that they have recorded more than 1,000 people in the agricultural island who had been peddling fish products in recent months in the high-traffic areas like Tagbilaran City. “People selling seafood online is also increasing here,” he added.

BFAR-Cebu provincial fishery officer, Edgardo Delfin bared that they have been encouraging people to explore the income opportunities in fish selling, especially at a time when many livelihoods have been lost during the pandemic. “People have found another source of income during this crisis,” he said.

Meanwhile, BFAR-7 plans to increase fish production in the region through the provision of fingerlings and technical assistance to small-scale fisherfolks and fisherfolk organizations, Poquita said that there are more than 100,000 registered fisherfolks in Central Visayas.

He went on that this is in response to the call of Agriculture Secretary William Dar to refocus the agency’s programs to respond immediately to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic to the fishery sector.

The agency has also stepped up its regular price monitoring, fishing boats distribution and constant dialog with fisherfolk groups to ensure the fishery sector’s sustained contribution in the government’s food security program, Poquita revealed.

For more information, visit Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR-7)