By Rita dela Cruz, DA StratComms
The Department of Agriculture (DA) assures the consuming public of adequate supply of fresh fish in the market, amid the extended enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon, until May 15.
“With the lifting of the closed fishing season in major fishing areas in the country and the peak of fishing activities during the second quarter, we have enough supply of fresh fish in the market,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar.
In a recent meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), Secretary Dar presented to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte the fisheries outlook for 2020 with a surplus at year-end.
He said the projection of the DA’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) showed that for the end of the second quarter or on June 30, the country will enjoy an 11-day surplus equivalent to 101,792 metric tons (MT), with supply (934,920 MT) exceeding the demand (833,128 MT) by 12.2 percent (%).
“Since the implementation of the ECQ, we have been adopting the ‘not business-as-usual’ as a policy in all DA field offices and attached agencies, including the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority (PFDA), that manages major fish ports nationwide. So rest assured that there is enough fish unloaded in our fish ports to meet our national demand,” said Dar.
PFDA General Manager Atty. Glen Pangapalan, in a report to secretary Dar, said they have facilitated the unloading of 71,025 MT of fish or an average of 2,088 MT daily, since the implementation of the enhanced ECQ.
Outlook for the entire year or till December 31, 2020, is also bright, with supply (3,349,424 MT) slightly exceeding demand (3,332,510 MT), on top of the total fish supply for January 2021, the DA-BFAR said.
“Adequate fishing ports and postharvest facilities are critical to the full development of the sector. Currently, we have nine regional fish ports in the country — Navotas, Lucena, Sual, Camaligan, Bulan, Iloilo, General Santos, Zamboanga, and Davao — and all of them are continuously operating to meet our demand,” said Pangapalan.
“We assure the unhampered operation of the PFDA-managed fish ports nationwide — particularly the Navotas Fish Port Complex that supplies around 70 percent of the fish demand of Metro Manila and national capital region, as well as neighboring areas in Luzon,” he added.
“The other good news is that the wholesale prices of popular fish species like bangus, tilapia, galunggong, yellowfin tuna, and matambaka at all PFDA regional fish ports, have remained stable compared to other commercial species during the quarantine period,” Pangapalan said.
“In all, the DA will continue collaborating with various government agencies and the private sector to address issues and concerns in the fishery sector,” said secretary Dar.
“We need to fight the threat of hunger not just with innovations but with fast and effective actions,” he concluded.