January 25, 2022
Philippines fish producers oppose plan to import 60,000 tonnes of fish
Fish producers in the Philippines have expressed their objections against a planned importation of 60,000 tonnes of fish by the Department of Agriculture (DA), saying such move will impact the production of aquaculture and other stakeholders around the country.
Fish industry leaders, including Jonjon Santos, president of the Association of Fresh Fish Traders of the Philippines, Jon G. Juico, president of the Philippine Tilapia Association (PTA), Mario Balazon, spokesperson and director of Taal Lake Aquaculture Inc. (TLAAI), Dave Villaluz, secretary of the IloIlo Fish Producers Marketing Cooperative Inc., and Asis Peres, convenor of Tugon Kabuhayan and former director of Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFR), strongly opposed the order and asked the DA to recall the fish importation order.
DA Secretary William Dar earlier signed the Certificate of Necessity to Import (CNI) 60,000 tonnes to provide interventions to the agricultural damage from Typhoon Odette as well as the reduced fish production due to the closed fishing season.
In a virtual press briefing, the industry leaders said there's enough local supply of fresh fish around the Philippines' aquafarms in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao to negate the importation of frozen fish.
Based on gathered data, the DA was able to import an estimated 43,000 tonnes of fish in the last quarter of 2021. Out of this, only about 20,000 tonnes have been disposed to the retail market.
Adding another 60,000 tonnes in the first quarter of 2022 will flood the market and drag down the prices to the detriment of local producers.
There is still 20,000 tonnes that remain untouched at cold storage and another 3,000 tonnes still on the way to the Philippines, according to Jonjon Santos, president of the Association of Fresh Fish Traders of the Philippines.
With the expected resumption of fishing in Palawan due to the lifting of fishing ban in January 21, Santos said more fish, including galunggong, are expected to go to the fish markets, which could result to an oversupply particularly in Metro Manila.
- The Manila Times