Commentary

The sea remains the same in size

Met Luis Isles, a distant relative, at sea. Allegedly he had heard about me a lot of times, esp. during the Silawan murder investigation, but this is the first time we’ve met.

He lamented about the dismal state of our fisheries nowadays, of how in the past, before going out to sea one can enjoy a garapon (jar) of tuba (native coconut wine), assured that one would be able to pay for it upon return. But such days are gone now, according to him. A typical fisherman’s average catch could not even feed his family, much less support the “luxury” of enjoying tuba.

I asked him why this is so. There are just so many of us fishing nowadays, he said. The sea remains the same in size though, he added. I asked if he is aware that illegal fishing, esp. of commercial fishing vessels entering municipal waters, had been identified by many as having greater effect on the depletion of our fisheries than small marginal fishermen like him. He conceded that indeed, the presence of “hapa-hapa” in some municipal waters off Sogod, Cebu may have some effect on the amount of fish available in the municipal waters of Sogod.

We parted ways, he leaving for home while my cousin Eden Sulib continued fishing.

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