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Economic Implications of Juvenile Siganid Fishery on Local Fishing Communities in Pangasinan, Philippines

Juvenile siganid (padas) fishery is driven by the desire of fishers to extract greater economic rent from fishing, at least in the short term. What most fishers do not realize is that engaging in padas fishing has adverse economic implications to the entire fishing community in the long term. At present, laws and local ordinances such as mesh size regulations and closed seasons are already in place to regulate the padas fishery in Alaminos and Bolinao, Pangasinan. Nevertheless, many fishers still pursue the practice because of the income they obtain from padas fishery. Using rapid resource appraisal techniques and formal fishery and household surveys, the study estimated the opportunity cost associated with padas fishery to be PHP 150.6 million a year. This amount can also be looked at as society’s net loss in terms of the additional adult siganid that would otherwise have been available to fishers if padas fishery would be totally eliminated through collective action. However, whether or not to undertake padas fishing is a private decision made by an individual fisher; as such, totally eliminating it may not be effective. In order to assess the short-term economic losses versus potential societal gains from elimination of padas fishing, simulations were done by assuming different levels of reduction on juvenile catch, vis-à-vis 20, 50, 80, and 100 percent catch reduction. Results of simulations showed that implementing an 80 percent reduction in the padas catch would be a more feasible option, provided that there is strict enforcement and monitoring to ensure that no fisher deviates from the agreedupon level of reduction. This reduction, however, lowers the net societal benefits to PHP 120.8 million a year. In the absence of strict monitoring and enforcement, a 20 percent reduction in the padas catch is ideal as there would be no incentive for fishers to deviate, provided that they make informed decisions. The 20 percent reduction means that while padas fishers would decrease their monthly income by PHP 240, the benefits that would accrue to society from the additional mature siganid would amount to PHP 30.4 million a year. Results of the study also showed that in case total elimination is not feasible, an alternative policy of prohibiting padas fishing a few days after the start of the “padas run” is relatively more efficient in terms of capturing the full potential benefits and relatively more effective in terms of social acceptability as compared to the existing closed season set at specific months. Moreover, implementing supplemental policies such as catch limitation on the demand side and more vigilant monitoring and enforcement of fishery policies, including mesh size restriction, would lead to a further increase in the potential benefits from elimination or reduction of padas fishery and a significant decline in the incentives for fishers to pursue padas fishing.


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