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Compressor Fishing Practices among Fisher-divers of Lampirong (Placuna placenta) and their Associated Health Risks in a Coastal Municipality in Panay, Philippines.


Ma. Arve B. Baňez

Related Institution

Division of Professional Education - University of the Philippines Visayas

Publication Information

Publication Type
Publication Sub Type
Journal Article, Original
Project Title
Philippine Journal of Health Research and Development (PJHRD)
Philippine Journal of Health Research and Development
Publication Date
July-September 2019


Background: Compressor fishing is a strategy adopted by small-scale artisanal fishers of coastal communities in Panay, Western Visayas. The practice persists among subsistence Lampirong fisher-divers whose livelihood depends on seasonal fishing. Placuna placenta known locally as Lampirong, is valued for its shells, which are made into shell craft like the famous capiz window. Related studies which examined traditional diving practices and compressor fishing identified risk factors such as inappropriate dive training and use of unsuitable diving gears.
Objective: The study aimed to investigate the plight and health risks associated with common malpractices among Lampirong fisher-divers who utilize the compressor fishing strategy.
Methodology: In this ethnographic study, five (5) Lampirong fisher-divers narrated the health risks and managing practices that they have adapted to survive compressor fishing. Primary data from field observation and interviews with the fisher-divers as well as secondary data from related studies were utilized for comparison and analysis. Considering the health risks that compressor fishing poses to fisher-divers, this study attempted a reflexive position drawing from the principle of ecological public health.
Results: The health risks of compressor fishing are known to fisher-divers, thus, they have developed managing practices which include observance of certain clear-cut rules (the do's and don'ts) to ensure underwater survival. Improvised diving gears are worn but barely protect the Lampirong fisher-divers from decompression illness or sickness. Related studies validated these symptoms such as nose bleed, dull pain in the ears, blood dripping from the ears, headache, and physical fatigue from prolonged dives. They rationalized the practice of Lampirong compressor fishing as a means to bring food to the table for families in fishing communities.
Conclusion: While the Philippine law prohibits or regulates compressor fishing, there is still a need for a policy or program that will address the health risks caused by compressor fishing.

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