On Local Fishermen and China’s Aquaculture Technology
THE INQUIRER’s report “Zambales fishers won’t take Chinese bait,” gave readers an interesting view of one bilateral exchange between counterparts in China and the Philippines. President Rodrigo Duterte’s so-called China pivot was widely covered by the media, mostly in anticipation of expanded commerce and economic investments to be made by China in the country.
The news story recounted the exposure trip arranged by the Chinese government in January which showcased China’s aquaculture industry to a group of Filipino fishermen, designed to engage Filipinos in fish farming using China’s technology.
Interestingly, the tour failed to convince members of the Federated Fishermen Association of Masinloc in Zambales. The report recorded the expressed apprehensions of the fishermen as they observed the negative impact on the environment. Filipinos also observed that the waters surrounding the farms were murky.
The chair of the association said that it was like being offered a lollipop “to appease a crying child” – a sharp reference to the harassment of Filipino fishermen by the Chinese Coast Guard when in the past they tried to fish in the waters of the Scarborough Shoal. The brief account included mention of the standoff in 2012 and the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling which recognized the legitimacy of the Philippine claim in 2016.
Every prospective deal with any foreign partner should involve the same detached evaluation, observing all with eyes wide open. The fishermen of Zambales set a good example. Maybe, media should also examine the existing fish farms around the country which fail environmental standards as seen in the Laguna Lake.