February 26, 2004



EAGA Fishing Sector Hampered By Complicated Customs Procedures


Malaysia has called for standardized custom procedures and quarantine rules to boost the fishing industry in the East Asean Growth Area (EAGA).


Ranimah Haji Abd Wahab of Malaysia in her situationer paper on the fisheries sector in Southeast Asia, said fisheries stand as a potential dollar earner and job supplier in the EAGA, but lack of reliable information on product prices and complicated custom procedures within EAGA countries continue to hamper the development of the sector. She commented the above during an Eaga fisheries working group meeting.


The paper recommends the development of an EAGA-wide information network and the simplification of customs procedure to boost the fishery sector in the region composed of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.


EAGA has been supplying fresh and processed fish products and seaweeds to Japan, US and Europe.


In a separate paper, Dr. Rolando Platon of the Philippine delegation, said Southeast Asian countries raked in a total of US$9 million from aquaculture exports in 2001 alone, an increase from a the US$1.5 million dollar in 1984.


Aquaculture production -- which include fish, shrimps, seaweeds--in Southeast Asia was pegged at 1 million metric tons in 1984 which increased to 3.9 metric tons in 2001, Platon said.


Top aquaculture producers came from the EAGA, with the Philippines topping the three other countries in terms of volume while Indonesia topped other countries in terms of value.


In his paper, Platon also noted that total production of marine catch in the South China Sea only increased slightly by 2 million metric tons in a span of 14 years from 1984 to 1998.


Most of these fish--which include tuna, scads, carangids, mackerels and anchovies--are caught in the coastal waters along the South China Sea.


Countries in the EAGA raked in 65.75 per cent of the total volume of fish and marine products landing along the South China sea coast. Of the total volume, Indonesia accounted for 32 percent, followed by the Philippines, 23.3 percent, Malaysia, 10.45 percent and Brunei Darussalam, less than one per cent.

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