Lawmakers want probe on dwindling fish supply-A A +A
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
ALARMED over reports that local fish catch has been declining due to imported fish, two lawmakers passed a resolution calling for an inquiry on the issue.
House Resolution 2253 filed by Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez and Abante Mindanao Representative Maximo Rodriguez Jr. calls on the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to look into this report and help fishermen whose livelihood is being threatened by the dwindling supply of fish in Philippine seas.
The resolution also urged the two agencies to enact measures to assist fishermen who are steadily falling into poverty due to the decreased catches and small wages as prices of every basic commodity is rising.
Recently, BFAR announced in a forum that the country is now importing large numbers of “galunggong” from China and Taiwan, which is part of the 900,000 metric tons of fish now being imported by the Philippines.
The local supply of “galunggong” and other fish has dwindled that it can no longer meet the demand of the local market.
BFAR Director Asis Perez said the local market has been opened to imported fish because the domestic fish catch has been declining as most of the fishing areas are heavily fished.
However, despite the claim of Perez that imported fish are exclusive for institutional buyers like processing plants, a large number of imported fish are finding their way into the Philippine wet markets because of a “leakage” allegedly made by erring importers who divert imported fish.
Perez emphasized that “importers are supposed to use imported fish only in their own facilities -- either they supply canneries or plants or institutional buyers like restaurants.”
Rodriguez said there is a need to look into this and enact measure that would mobilize major stakeholders to make the fishery sector, specifically in the Zamboanga peninsula and other parts of Mindanao, adapt to climate change.
“There is also a need to integrate fisheries management to ensure fish food security and reduce poverty in fishing communities,” Rodriguez said. (Annabelle L. Ricalde)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on June 13, 2012.