January 26, 2004



Fisheries Output In Philippines See 7.5% Increase In 2003


Fisheries Output in the Philippines saw an unprecedented increase of 7.51% in 2003, the greatest push seen in the country's agricultural performance last year, Agriculture Secretary Luis P. Lorenzo announced on Saturday.

Lorenzo said this is the highest growth rate so far achieved by the fishery subsector which contributed more than a fifth of the total agriculture production for 2003.

Citing figures from the Bureau of Agriculture Statistics, Lorenzo said fish production in aquaculture, municipal fishing and commercial fishing registered increases of 8.69 percent, 6.66 percent and 6.38 percent, respectively.

In terms of value, the fishery subsector with its total production volume of 3.61 million MT posted a value of P119.1 billion or 5.84 percent more than last year's value of P113.2 billion for 3.36 million MT.

Lorenzo also cited the very significant increase in municipal fisheries that tripled its growth rate from 2.2 percent to 6.6 percent with total fish production of 1.05 million MT. Productions in aquaculture and commercial fisheries were registered at 1.45 million MT and.1.11 million MT, respectively.

With the substantial increase in the volume of farmed fish harvests especially bangus and tilapia, Lorenzo is very optimistic that Filipinos are better assured of a cheaper, safer and healthier food-protein as substitute to the more expensive poultry and livestock meat. Fish contains protein that is comparable to meat and has lesser calories due to its good quality unsaturated fatty acids, he added.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) credited the increase of production to the government's initiative to adopt environment-friendly and wholesome aquaculture technologies and strict adherence to recommended fishery resource management schemes in the last few years.

Burea of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Director Malcolm I. Sarmiento, Jr. said that since last year, BFAR has actively been implementing its roadmaps on tilapia, bangus and seaweeds aimed at increasing production in aquaculture.

The BFAR was able to establish 12 hatcheries for the massive distribution of the more superior strain of tilapia - the GET Excel, which was developed by the BFAR center in Munoz, Nueva Ecija. President Arroyo gave instructions for BFAR to complete the 12 hatcheries within 12 months, which the BFAR accomplished in 6 months.

The BFAR likewise, completed two central and five satellite hatcheries for bangus and 78 seaweed nurseries. These facilities were established at strategic areas nationwide to ensure the ready supplies of fish fingerlings and seaweed propagules.

In terms of gross value of output, aquaculture showed improvements in gross value of output, moving up by 5.06 percent mainly credited to increment in production in tilapia (136,018 MT), bangus (246,588 MT) and seaweeds (988,888 MT). Commercial and municipal fisheries on the other hand, maintained their favorable increases in production as gross earnings accelerated to 5.74 percent and 6.68 percent, respectively.

Despite this positive growth, the fishery subsector continued to suffer from price cuts, with 1.55 percent decline in prices. Compared to last year's performance, commercial fisheries and aquaculture price quotations were lower by 0.58 and 3.33 percent, respectively. The lower prices could be attributed to oversupply of tilapia and bangus, which are observed to be flooding the local market.

This year, the DA is eyeing more export destinations for its bangus, and tilapia products. As of now, some private entrepreneurs were able to penetrate the US market and are now exporting ready-to-cook tilapia fillet smoked boneless bangus.

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