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Benham Rise key to food security

The Benham Rise could be the key to secure the country’s food security, according to Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Manny Piñol following a three-day exploratory trip to the 13-million hectare underwater plateau.

Piñol was expected to report to President Rodrigo Duterte in yesterday’s Cabinet meeting that Benham Rise is a rich fishing ground that should be protected and secured from over-fishing and over-exploitation.

Piñol said he will recommend to the President and the Cabinet the construction of a facility in Benham Bank, the shallowest portion of Benham Rise, to house a research center for marine scientists, a dock for the local fisherfolk, an ice-making plant to keep fish catch fresh, a station for the Coast Guard, and a weather radar station.

Piñol, together with a team from DA and the Bureau of Aquatic and Natural Resources (BFAR), explored Benham Rise last May 5-7 to conduct research on how to harness the full potential of Benham Rise. (Ellalyn de Vera-Ruiz)