Recently, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) came out with an information that the sale of pampano and pink salmon shall be banned starting December 4 of this year. According to the said agency, the ban is according to the provisions of Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 and a 1999 Administrative Order.

According to BFAR, the said code and issuance covers the importation of fresh, chilled or frozen fish for institutional buyers only and not those who sell the fishes on wet markets. This means that only institutional buyers are allowed to buy and sell the kind of fishes which are popular and among the favorites in the country. Selling pampano and pink salmon in wet markets meanwhile shall be banned.

The BFAR is asserting that the rationale behind the ban is to assure that products sold in wet markets are legitimate and have proper documentation. The timing of the ban is questionable. Why the sudden move now and why the sudden care on the quality of imported fish?

The said code has long been in effect. The said order has long been implemented. The ban now is raising some eyebrows especially those of small fish vendors who will be affected by the ban. Suddenly, the BFAR is being strict in the marketing of the said variety of fish.

It is quite unfair to see why the poor are banned from selling pampano and salmon when hotels and restaurants are not. Quality wise, we cannot exactly determine which one are fresh catches and which one are not as long as there is proper handling of these.

The basis of the prohibition is quite fishy as it targets small and poor vendors in local markets. Besides, small fish vendors are also buyers from fish importers just like hotels and restaurants. However, the latter can sell their fishes while the vendors cannot, under the ban.

As a consumer of these kind of fishes, I cannot buy them now in our market and cook them in our home. I still have to go to a hotel or a restaurant for me to eat one of my favorite fishes. This makes eating pampano or salmon more expensive.

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