Fish imports to arrive soon

Catherine Talavera – The Philippine Star

October 12, 2021 | 12:00am


MANILA, Philippines — Almost 20,000 metric tons (MT) of small pelagic fishes, including round scad or galunggong will soon enter the country, according to Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

In a virtual press conference, Dar said the Certificates of Necessity to Import (CNI) had already been signed.

“So depending on transport and logistics, some can arrive in two or three weeks time,” Dar said.

In August, Dar approved the allocation of 60,000 MT worth of CNIs for small pelagic fishes in the fourth quarter, in a bid to augment local supply during the closed fishing season in the country’s major fishing grounds. This covers galunggong, mackerel and bonito.

The country’s economic managers earlier emphasized that the issuance of the CNIs was in line with the government’s efforts to proactively ensure that fish prices do not rise further as supply narrows in the upcoming closed fishing season.

With the arrival of the imports, Dar said he expects the prices of galunggong to fall to around P150 a kilo or below P200 per kilo.

Under the import guidelines, importers should sell the imported fish at P88 per kilo wholesale.

Latest market monitors from the DA showed that the prevailing price of imported galunggong stood at P200 a kilo in markets in the National Capital Region (NCR) as of Friday.

In contrast, the price of local galunggong was higher at P240 per kilo.

Various fishing groups have expressed concern over the approved fish importation volume, saying this may flood the local market with fish supply which will affect the livelihood of fisherfolks.

The closed fishing season is implemented annually to allow fish stocks to replenish and ensure the abundance of supply.

According to the DA, Davao Gulf’s closed fishing season is from June 1 to Aug. 31; Visayan Sea from Nov. 15 to Feb. 15; Sulu Sea from Dec. 1 to Feb. 28; and in Northeast Palawan from November to January.

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