Diora-Zinungan is a barangay in the Municipality of Sta. Ana, in the Province of Cagayan. It is located between barangay Rapuli and Centro. Farming and fishing are the main sources of income of the people living in the area. Also, the place is famously known for its sweet pineapple products. Other crops include rice, vegetables, root crops and other fruits. Whereas, livelihood of residents near the shore is fishing. The pride of the fishermen in this place is the large-size of “beltfish” or commonly called by them in the dialect as “bulung-unas” and in tagalog as “espada”.
Beltfish is scientifically called as Lepidopus caudatus, a silver scabbard fish of the family Trichiuridae found throughout the temperature seas of the world. It grows over two (2) meters (6 ft. 7 in.) in length. They call it “espada” because it looks like a sword.
The huge quantity of fish catch is one manifestation that beltfish is abundant in their fishing area. Fish dealers from other municipalities often buy their catch in low-price and sell it expensively in the market. In this situation, fishermen only earn minimal amount with their whole day and night catching beltfish while dealers earn double or even triple if it is compared to the fishermen’s income.
In this regard, offering the belt fishing activity has been conceptualized as an additional tourism product where tourists will experience the traditional methods of fishing by using traditional fishing gears. With that, tourists will pay a premium amount to the fishermen for the services offered and the use of fishing boat and paraphernalia. Whatever fish catch during the tour, it will be given to the tourists. At the same time, it will lessen the required quantity of catch but it will increase income and become more sustainable.
The organization of Diora-Zinungan Belt Fishing Association (DZBFA) is meant to handle operations by establishing internal policies and guidelines in managing their tourism services. This is a newly organized CEZA-assisted group that composed of 67 fishermen residing in the above-mentioned barangay. The interim officers took their oath last January 6, 2021 with the presence of the Municipal Officials of Sta. Ana. The Community Affairs and Development Division has started extending technical assistance by facilitating planning, conducting meetings and consultations, crafting their internal policies and facilitating the election of officers. These are all in preparation of their proposed livelihood activity.