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Guimaras dads block proposed ‘fishtival’

January 5, 2007

By Ronilo L. Pamonag
The News Today, Jan. 5, 2007

Guimaras officials don’t want yet to pop the champagne yet with a sunken tanker in their midst.

Local government officials from Guimaras did not approve a proposal to hold a festival aimed at dispelling the “fish scare” caused by the oil spill while tanker Solar 1 is not yet removed.

“We consulted them about our proposed festival to popularize and regain market confidence in Guimaras seafoods, that it is safe for human consumption,” said Remia Aparri of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-Guimaras during a press briefing yesterday by the Task Force Solar One Oil Spill.

But the officials of Guimaras said they want to celebrate only after the ship has been removed or the remaining bunker fuel offloaded, Aparri said.

BFAR consulted local government officials last December 27 about the province-wide seafoods festival, which the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund has already committed to fund.

Aparri said that the IOPCF expressed its willingness to fund the festival because of its financial effect on the fisherfolk. “If people would buy fish caught from Guimaras, there would be no more reason for these fisherfolk to claim unrealized sales because of the oil spill,” Aparri explained.

Majority of the claimants with the IOPC are marginal fisherfolk affected by the oil spill.

The BFAR has been hard put in convincing consumers that fish and other marine resources caught in the waters around Guimaras are safe for human consumption.

In the wake of the country’s worst oil spill, fish brokers have already refused to buy fish caught by Guimaras fishers. Those already brought were returned upon knowing that these were from Guimaras.

To address this issue, the BFAR issued several favorable advisories regarding seafoods from Guimaras.

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