The Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources has assured stable supply of fish until year end despite the series of typhoons that hit the fisheries sector.
Agriculture Undersecretary for Agri-Industrialization and for Fisheries Cheryl Caballero, in a virtual presser, said fish inventory is projected at 87,539 metric tons, which means there is substantial availability of supply within 10 days.
For this year, she said fish supply was estimated at 3.42 million MT, against 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.
According to the infographic presented during the virtual presser, the overall supply of fish still totals to 3,420,232 MT. Of this figure, 2,946,165 MT belonged to the local supply.
It said the BFAR interventions have saved some 75,178 MT, while importation has accounted for 403,259 MT.
Lagonoy Gulf Integrated Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council chairman Arnel Boholst said what they need is replacement and/or repair of their fishing boats destroyed by recent typhoons and not additional boats.
Lagonoy Gulf is considered a major fishing ground, especially for tuna. Around 2,000 fishing boats in the area were damaged during the past typhoons.
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 his group has collected more than P956,000 which they would use to buy materials for the repair of fishing boats for the affected fisherfolk.
An initial of 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 December until February. The ban would 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 sardine 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, in 2015 it grew to 148,718 MT.