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    Improving the Livelihood of Fisher Folk through Wind and Solar-Powered Aquaponics: A Pilot Study to be Conducted in the Coastal Area of Zambales, Philippines

    by Romel Burnot 06/10/2019 02:13 PM BST

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      In 2017, the overall volume of Philippine fisheries production went down by 1.04% compared to 2016 level of almost four million metric tons. Firstly, less fishing trips and efforts attributed to weather disturbances that brought strong winds and rough seas [Source: PSA]. Secondly, fishing restrictions to the Scarbourough Shoal imposed by China.

       Zambales Governor Amor Deloso on June 2018 issued assurances to provide alternative sources of livelihood to fishermen from the province. “Fishing is an important livelihood in Zambales and I have refused big industries along the coastline of the province to avoid destroying the livelihood of the fisherfolk,” he said. Deloso said the provincial government will continue supporting the livelihood needs of the affected fishermen through the Provincial Fisheries Office, which assists them in generating alternative sources of income through projects [Source: Philippine News Agency].


      While DA-BFAR is continuously exerting efforts to help municipal fisherfolk, the issue on sustainable alternative livelihood remains unaddressed! Hence, this management research proposal, wind and solar-powered aquaponics, aims to become a production-technology arm of DA-BFAR in developing and implementing sustainable & scalable alternative livelihood for fisherfolk.


      Aquaponics is an application of biotechnology. It is an integrated production of fish species and organic vegetables in soil-less system. Fisherfolk can then normally catch fish from the sea, plus from the household fish tanks (aquaponics) plus food vegetables as value-added. Even during weather disturbances and fishing restrictions at Scarborough Shoal, fisherfolk will have considerably stable income.


      Sustainable Ecotourism as Ancillary Benefits of Household Aquaponics

      The structural design of household aquaponics integrates renewable energy. Roofing is Solar Panel beds, and irrigation of fish tanks is automatic through Wind Turbines.

      Most coastal areas are experiencing relatively large quantum of solar and wind energy. If the wind is heavy it might produce larger sea waves of high energy contents. The electricity needs of a barangay or a community situated in a coastal area can be partially fulfilled by installing a modular mini electricity generating unit and an intensified solar heat extractor in the roof of every household aquaponics. Also, installation of medium sized windmill plant could help fulfil the growing business and household electricity needs of the municipality in the future. This approach leads self-sufficiency in electricity to the coastal community, and municipality of Cabanggan as a whole.


      Moreover, aquaponics structural design is resistant to weather disturbances. It provides mutual protection to the fisherfolk and coastal area. The household aquaponics placed just before the perimeter fence, i.e. facing the seashore, of fisherfolk is structurally designed to withstand weather disturbances. Scattered alongside the coastal area are wind turbines also serve as reinforcement against weather disturbances.  Part of the wind and solar energy operations management is the rehabilitation, conservation or preservation of wind turbines’ circumferencial area. This includes but not limited to environmental research and education on solid and water waste management, community organizing and capacity building for dwarf coconut tree planting & mangrove reforestation, and the restoration of degraded resources and the protection of remaining ones through collaboration with concerned government agencies.


      Lastly, as household increases in the coastal area, an array of aquaponics, solar panel beds and wind turbines is developed. In the future, an inter-agency collaboration among Provincial Government of Zambales, DENR, DA-BFAR, SBMA and LGU Cabanggan will be formed to develop and implement an inter-bay ecotourism activities from Subic to Masinloc-Oyon to Cabanggan. Initial concept note of the propose ecotourism activities are as follows:   

      1. Educational Boat Ride: Boarding from Subic Yacht Club, students and teachers on field-trip will be toured from Subic Bay, Masinloc-Oyon Bay then to Cabanggan. A tour guide, supplemented by recorded documentary video shown on the big television screen, will explain the history, culture, marine life, and ecosystem of Subic Bay and Masinloc-Oyon Bay. Duration is two hours. [Reference: Singapore River Cruise].
      2. Recreational Bay Cruise: The same itinerary to that of Educational Boat Ride. Plus, sumptuous buffet seafood upon reaching Masinloc-Oyon Bay and Cabanggan.  [Reference: Batanes’ Batan to Sabtang Tour].
      3. Ultimate Experience: The same itinerary and feature to that of Recreational Bay Cruise. Plus, an overnight camping on the safe ground, white fine-sands of Masinloc-Oyon Bay or Cabanggan, with traditional massage theraphy [Reference: Yosemite National Park, California].


      This management research paper looks at the scenario of improving immediately the livelihood of fisherfolk through stable fish catch and food vegetables.  And with ancillary benefits on ecotourism, livelihood of fisherfolk in the future will be further improved as a result of sustainable ecotourism that attracts academe, outside investors and  local tourists.

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