Maasim fishermen face off in Kestebeng tourney

Inquirer Libre - Davao - - PANGUNAHING PAHINA -

MAASIM, Sarangani–As early as 3 a.m. on June 19, the Sarangani Energy Corp. (SEC) opened the gates of its jetty area in Barangay Kamanga to welcome at least 30 local fishermen who were 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 p.m. deadline, the duo of Edwin and Richard Cereño 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 told to drop their baits only beyond the boundaries of Maasim’s Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

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

Years ago, critics expressed apprehension over SEC’s 210Megawatt 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 Cereño.

For his part, Richard Cereño 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 and Project Assurance head.

Tourism municipal director Rosario Mantua disclosed the SEC fishing tournament and dive safari 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 PHOTO

BIG CATCH. Richard Cereño (right) wins the Biggest Catch of the Tournament category with a 38-kilogram skipjack tuna during the 1st Sarangani Energy Corp. (SEC) Fishing Tournament at the SEC jetty on June 19. The tournament was a highlight of Maasim’s 40th founding anniversary celebration and 10th Kestebeng Festival.

THE WINNING participants of the 1st Sarangani Energy Corp. (SEC) Fishing Tournament are joined by SEC personnel and local government officials in the awarding ceremony.

SARANGANI Energy Corp. power plant manager and tournament chair Jori Liimatta inspects the entries during the 1st SEC Fishing Tournament at the SEC jetty on June 19.

PHOTOS FROM SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE

COUSINS Richard (left) and Edwin Cereno (right) show their winning catch.

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