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Sarangani fishers group earns Php 110K from open sea fishing

About the Purok Mabuhay Fisherfolk Association (PMFA) and Challenges

In 2008, a group of 15 women in Purok Mabuhay, Barangay Datu Dani, Kiamba, Sarangani was organized to augment their husband’s income from fishing.

The Purok Mabuhay Fisherfolk Association (PMFA), chaired by late President Ms. Erlinda Cayanon, has the initiative to generate viable funds to sustain their operation by lending their individual paid-up capital of Php 300 to the members with 10% monthly interest. Aside from the capital, the members are also obliged to pay Php 100 annually as a membership fee which will be added to their savings.

The group engaged in various activities such as goat raising and processing bagoong (bolinao) which helped them generate a more derivative income.

Just like any growing organization, the group took bigger steps in their business ventures. They put up a small fishing supply store.

However, the group went through challenges in the management of resources, the transition of officers, misunderstanding among members, and members’ adherence to the group’s policy which forced them to close the business.

How PMFA became a SAAD beneficiary

In 2015, the group was reorganized and registered at the Sangguniang Barangay and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to legitimize their participation in the community and to hopefully avail support from government agencies.

In 2017, the group, with the assistance from the local government unit (LGU) of Kiamba, underwent thorough assessment, profiling, and data validation for them to qualify as a beneficiary of the Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) as the implementing unit.

From 15 initial women members, the group now has 45 members (21 male and 24 female), chaired by Norodin D. Guibon.

Project Implementation

Prior to the distribution of fishery inputs, the group attended a series of capacity building training and workshops to equip them on proper operation and management of their organization and the SAAD projects as well. It includes enterprise development, organizational development, strategic planning, basic financial management, and simple bookkeeping.

In December 2019, the group received the provision of motorized boat with complete accessories worth Php 208,000. The interventions include a wooden boat (23 feet length x 40” breadth x 48” depth) and a set of accessories such as fish storage icebox (5 blocks capacity), propeller, shafting, rudder, water container (30 liters capacity), battery (11 plates), fishfinder (portable, waterproof with GPS), a set of handheld radio with NTC registration, engine (16hp) diesel, and trapal.

Upon the awarding of the project, the group was financially challenged to generate a counterpart amount of Php 30,000 for the additional modification and full operation of the motorized boat, which took them a year to accomplish their commitment to the program.

The group took the whole 2020 to make the necessary boat modifications such as fabrication and installation of outrigger and pilothouse. They had to use all of their savings to finish the boat.

In 2021, the group resorted to an investor who will finance their weekly fishing operations and support their expenses – food for boat operators, ice blocks, and fuel. Usually, the financer provides an average of Php 4,500 as starting capital, and in return, he will buy the group’s fish catch.

Problems Encountered

As small-scale fishers, the group’s primary fishing ground is the municipal waters of Kiamba which is part of the Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape. With that, the restrictions of various fishing activities hindered the group’s operation. The group was forced to expand their fishing activity in commercial fishing grounds outside the bay, particularly in Celebes Sea.

Apparently, the expansion led them to increase fishing efforts and operational costs. Also, the said fishing ground is utilized by the commercial fishing vessels which make it even harder for them to have a good catch.

Key Results

After 11 fishing operations in the Celebes Sea, a total of 1,083.7 kilograms (kg) of fish catch was recorded with a gross income of Php 110,441 (Table 1). The composition of species caught include big eye scad (matambaka), galunggong, yellowfin tuna, and other tuna-like species.Table 1. PMFA’s Fish Catch and Income

Operation Date

Fish Type Volume

Gross Income

January 11 pirit, big-eyed scad (matambaka), and other tuna-like species




January 16 pirit, borot/galunggong,  bigeye scad/matambaka




January 19 bigeye scad/matambaka




January 29 bigeye scad/matambaka




February 2  bigeye scad/matambaka




April 25 yellowfin tuna, bigeye scad/matambaka, skipjack tuna/bariles, borot/galunggong




May 28 yellowfin tuna




May 31 bigeye scad/matambaka, other tuna-like species




June 27 skipjack tuna/bariles, borot/galunggong, bigeye scad/matambaka




*No fishing activities after June 18 due to rough Celebes Sea condition
August 13 skipjack tuna/bariles, borot/galunggong, bigeye scad/matambaka




August 23 skipjack tuna (bariles), borot/galunggong, big eye scad/matambaka








Income Sharing Policy

From the group’s income from fish catch, they created a standardized percentage share among members and the operator.

When fish captured is usually composed of small pelagic species, which is locally termed pino, 60% of the total catch is given to the operator and the remaining 40% for the group’s fund.

Meanwhile, when catch includes high-value species such as yellowfin tuna and blue marlin, which usually happens in the fourth quarter of the year, 50% of the income will go to the operator and the remaining 50% will be added to the group’s fund.


Looking forward, the association plans to re-open their small fishing supplies store and operate their ice maker machine.

Also, to address the competition in their fishing ground and ensure good catch, they are planning to submit a proposal to BFAR Central Office for the provision of a Fish Aggregating Device (FAD) or Payao Project.

Payao will help them increase their catch because it will attract a school of fish to aggregate within its perimeter.

Lastly, the group is crafting a proposal for the Sewing Livelihood Project to be submitted to the Department of Trade and Industry. The livelihood project aims to help women members and their children (out of school youth) supplement their source of income by making rags, gloves, face masks, and ready-to-wear clothes like shorts, pants, uniforms, etc. Some of these youth already availed of the basic sewing training from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. ###


Czarina M. Go, BFAR-12 SAAD Focal Person
Gemma Chyrell G. Moreno, PFO Sarangani

Source of Photos:
Mikhail O. Sabdani, SAAD Technical Staff

Copy Editor:
Jennifer A. Valcobero, SAAD National Public Relation and Communications Officer

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