Maasim fishing tournament: Sporting Sarangani Bay’s life-filled asset

MAASIM, Sarangani – At 3am on June 19, Sarangani Energy Corporation (SEC) opened the gates of its jetty area at Barangay Kamanga to blast-off at least 30 local fishermen participating in the 1st Fishing Tournament in the municipality.

The tournament was a highlight of Maasim’s 40th founding anniversary celebration and 10th Kestebeng Festival, with this year’s theme: “Peace and Prosperity Manifested through Festivity and Cooperation.”

Beating the 2:00 P.M-deadline, the duo of Edwin and Richard Cereṅo had arrived, checking-in a 38-kilogram skipjack tuna. It was declared the biggest catch of the tournament.

Other species caught by the participants include diwit (cutlass fish), tangigue (mackerel), Maya-maya (snapper) among others.

The tournament only allowed trolling, jigging, popping and bottom fishing. Destructive means like sprikitik (rentex), bombs or explosives, nets, long lines, pana (spear fishing), tubli (poison) among others were strictly umpired by the marshals coming from the 805th squadron of the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Sharks, whales, dolphins, stingrays, turtles, puffer fishes, cuttlefish, octopuses, and squids were also excluded as entries.

The designated fishing area was limited within 15 kilometers from the shoreline of Barangay Kamanga.

Since The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) lists Sarangani Bay as a Protected Seascape, participants were strictly told to drop their baits only beyond the boundaries of Maasim’s Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

 “These huge freshly caught fish just prove our sea (in Maasim) is in good shape,” said Mayor Aniceto Lopez, Jr.

It can be recalled that years ago, critics have expressed apprehension over SEC’s 210-Megawatt coal-fired power plant project in Maasim, believing the project including the jetty construction will destroy Sarangani Bay’s marine biodiversity.

 “I don’t think so. From the start, I believe it’s not true,” said the 50 year-old Edwin Cereṅo.

For his part, Richard Cereṅo was grateful to the support the company had provided to the fisherfolk community in Maasim.

 “The payaos (fish aggregating devices) are very beneficial to marginal fishermen like me. We don’t need to fish farther,” he said.

In November last year, the municipal government of Maasim partnered with SEC and the Alcantara Foundation in providing fish aggregating devices to the coastal barangays of Malbang, Kamanga and Tinoto.

 “Protecting our seas forever means benefiting from seas forever. We appreciate your participation and we hope you will continue partnering with us not only on the fishing tournament but to other significant events aimed at conserving our seas,” said Joel Aton, SEC HR-Admin & Project Assurance Head.

Tourism director Rosario Mantua disclosed the SEC fishing tournament, dive safari among others will highlight Maasim’s ‘Global Seascape Experience Capital Destination’ package which they will be launching early next year.

 “We will definitely do it again, we will do it bigger and better next year,” she said. (Contributed by Sarangani Energy Corporation for SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

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