TACLOBAN CITY-A marine conservation group, Oceana, has disclosed that poverty incidence in coastal areas in Samar and Northern Samar provinces remains alarmingly high.

Based on the study commissioned by Oceana conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of the Department of Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the high poverty incidence of these coastal municipalities has also resulted in the high incidence of malnutrition considering that fish, particularly sardines, is a rich source of protein.

“It is ironic that these areas are surrounded with seas which are the banks of nutrition but end impoverished and nutrition-deficient,” lawyer Rhea Yray-Frossard, campaign and research director of Oceana, said.

Oceana, aside from campaigning for fisheries management, is also into preserving sardines, being a rich source of protein which can address the malnutrition problem.
The DOST-FRNI recommends a daily consumption of fish as part of a balanced diet.
And based on their 2020 commissioned study, Northern Samar posted a 75.1 food insecurity while Samar is at 70.5.

Food insecurity means there was limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways, Oceana said.

The group said that poverty incidence among fisherfolks in Northern Samar and Samar provinces, could be attributed to various factors.

One of these is the lack of post-harvest facilities like an ice storage which result in the wastage of fish which instead of being sold in the market end up being thrown or wasted.
The lack of facility also results in the loss of quality of the fish and in the process, result in the loss of nutrients.

“We also discovered that good quality of catch fish are being sold outside their areas with the remaining catch sold in the locality or for home consumption, affecting their nutritional value,” Yray-Frossard said.

The Oceana is working with several local governments in Samar and Northern Samar as part of their campaign wherein they are helping provide post-harvest facilities, teaching fishermen to acquire skills on trading and pricing of their products, among others.

In Samar, they are with the towns of Jiabong, Motiong, Hinabangan, Paranas, Calbiga, San Sebastian, Santa Rita, Villareal, Daram, Talalora, and Zumarraga, and the city of Catbalogan.

In Northern Samar is working Allen, San Isidro, Victoria, Capul, San Antonio, and San Vicente.

The Samar areas face Maqueda and Villareal Bays while those in Northern Samar faces San Bernardino Strait.

The poverty incidences in areas covered by Oceana in Samar ranges from 19.0 percent (Catbalogan City) up to 41.18 percent (Daram) while in Northern Samar it ranges from 23.97 percent (Allen) to 37.31 percent (San Vicente). (JOEY A. GABIETA)