TACLOBAN CITY, March 23 (PNA) – Fishery production in Eastern Visayas grew by 7.8 percent during the last quarter of 2014, showing signs of the sector’s recovery from the 2013 super typhoon.

In a quarterly report released by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on Monday, the region has produced 31,235.15 metric tons of fishery products between October to December 2014.

Total harvest has a value of Php2.02 billion or 15.78 percent more than last year’s fourth quarter.

The better production in the later part of 2014 can be attributed to recovery of the industry following the massive distribution of fishing boats and fishing gears in communities badly hit by the super typhoon.

“However, the sector has a huge deficit of 31.70 percent from the fourth quarter of 2013. This implies that with 7.8 percent growth rate, it will take more than four years to compensate the shortfall,” NEDA said in its report.

Leyte recorded a 45.41 percent rise in aquatic catch. Output in Eastern Samar and Biliran provinces increased by 5.5 percent and 1.31 percent, respectively.

Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Regional (BFAR) Director Juan D. Albaladejo said the better production from October to December 2014 is expected since many fishermen did not go fishing in the immediate aftermath of the catastrophe.

“Many of them were able to restore their livelihood after receiving assistance from BFAR and non-government organizations,” Albaladejo said.

In 2014, BFAR has led the rebuilding of 18,000 boats, benefitting about 18,000 fishermen in 466 typhoon-weary villages.

Under the first phase of the recovery project, the fisheries bureau has been providing materials for repair and construction such as plywood, nails and marine adhesives. After the construction or repair, fisherfolks receive a motor engine and fishing gears. (PNA)