The Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources has assured stable supply of fish until yearend despite the series of typhoons that hit the fisheries sector.
DA Undersecretary for Agri-Industrialization and for Fisheries, Cheryl Caballero, in a virtual presser, said fish inventory is projected at 87,539 metric tons (MT), that means there is substantial availability of supply within 10 days.
For 2020, she said fish supply was estimated at 3.42 million MT, against the demand of 3.33 million MT.
DA spokesperson Noel Reyes said the calamity has incurred 4,552.26 MT of losses in the fisheries sector.
An infographic presented during the virtual presser showed that the overall supply of fish still totals to 3,420,232 MT. Of this figure, 2,946,165 MT belonged to local supply.
It said the BFAR interventions have saved some 75,178 MT, while importation has accounted for 403,259 MT.
Asis Perez, convenor of Tugon Kabuhayan, said the government must act now to be able to help affected fishermen get back on their feet and start fishing.
“The help must reach the fishermen as soon as possible,” he said.
Asis also said their group has collected more than P956,000 that they will use in buying materials for the repair of fishing boats for the affected fisherfolk.
An initial 456 boats are expected to be repaired with the fund.
Meanwhile, Reyes explained the need for the country to request for the importation of goods despite being archipelagic.
“It is a matter of conservation. We have to do sustainability measures during the spawning season. This is the time we allot for the fish to lay eggs and for them to grow,” he said.
The BFAR earlier ordered a three-month closed fishing season in the Visayan Sea, from Nov. 15 until February. The ban will limit the catching of sardines, herring, and mackerel to allow their populations to regenerate.
Data provided by the DA showed that the average length of caught sardines increased by 1.9 centimeters, the highest recorded since 2016.
It also showed a consistent increase in the monitored landed catch of sardines. In 2014, a total of 141,158.79 MT was recorded and in 2015, it grew to 148,718 MT.
“If we take care of the sea, we can catch bigger and more expensive kind of fish,” she said.*PNA