Secretary of the Department of Agriculture President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.  leads the country's innovations in the department.  PCOO PHOTO

Secretary of the Department of Agriculture President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. leads the country’s innovations in the department. PCOO PHOTO

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is leading innovation in the country’s fisheries sector to be sufficient and secure and to help alleviate the global food crisis.

Marcos, who is also the secretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA), said he was keen to solve the problems in fisheries and even sought help from Indonesia to develop the agricultural industry, especially the fishing sector.

“I asked for help with fishing because I’m dealing with the Philippines importing galunggong or round sticks. I can’t accept that. That’s why I asked for help because Indonesia has a strong fishing sector and we can exchange delegations,” he said.

BFAR OIC - Director Nestor Domenden took a PHOTO

BFAR OIC – Director Nestor Domenden took a PHOTO

The country aims for a “food secure and resilient Philippines with prosperous farmers and fishers,” the theme of the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) 59th “On Fish” celebration. Fish Protection Week will be held on September 12-16.

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DA-BFAR has developed a catch plan for the fisheries sector to increase local production and minimize the need for fish imports this year.

“This capture plan seeks to unlock the bureau’s hidden potential by creating more fish collection facilities for our fishermen and more seed production for the aquaculture sector,” said BFAR OIC-Director Nestor Domenden.

The Marcos administration aims to make the country self-sufficient in fish. The initiative will address the projected annual shortfall in food fish stocks, estimated at 44,000 metric tons this year. This is less than 1% of what is needed to achieve full sufficiency.

Modernization of fisheries

BFAR focuses on innovation, modernization and intensification. The Bureau is improving the design and expanding the use of fish aggregating facilities (FAD) in the country’s strategic fishing areas. It will mechanize irrigation supply channels and have aeration of ponds for fish farms. It will accelerate the development of a cold chain program in island municipalities to reduce post-harvest losses.

The Bureau also includes not only bangus but other high-value species such as siganids, snappers, pompano, groupers and sea bass to enhance the National Fish Stock Development Program.

Rodolfo Viserra, Adviser on Agro-Industrialization of the Ministry of Agriculture

Rodolfo Viserra, Adviser on Agro-Industrialization of the Ministry of Agriculture

Domenden ordered the intensification of seed and fish fry production through the establishment of more hatcheries, with the aim of increasing local production of fingerlings, reducing the need to import fry and reducing the cost of aquaculture production.

BFAR also strengthened the Balik Sigla sa Ilog at Lawa (BASIL) program, where more communal water bodies will be sustainably supplied with marketable fish species. The bureau will also optimize the operation of marine parks across the country.

Innovation in the fisheries sector will also be prioritized by promoting urban aquaculture and non-traditional production systems such as tanks, dams, small catchment ponds, small farm water reservoirs (SFRs) and natural ground level or elevated fishponds, as well as improving aquaculture. using green energy.

The tuna industry continues to thrive

Domenden said the tuna industry has continued to contribute to the Philippine economy in recent years despite various challenges.

“Despite the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic and other natural disasters, the evolution of the tuna industry continues to be successful,” he said.

This commodity maintains and demands diverse requirements, as fresh, chilled, frozen, smoked, dried and canned products remain the country’s main export commodity in 2020, with a total volume of more than 134,000 metric tons worth US$480 million. % in volume, 0.6% in value.

“Despite what has happened, BFAR is optimistic that the tuna industry can be further optimized, especially with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions and the country’s growing economy,” he said.

DA-BFAR joined the Socsksargen Federation of Fisheries and Allied Industries (SFFAII) at the 22nd National Tuna Congress and Trade Show on 1-2 September 2022, “Braving Rough Seas Towards a Better Tomorrow”. SM City in General Santos City.

Domenden highlighted the bureau’s important projects and initiatives to further strengthen the tuna industry, such as the establishment of 12 Fisheries Management Areas (FMAs), the Integrated Marine Environmental Monitoring System (IMEMS) and the Fisheries Observer Program.

The Bureau continues to adhere to international commitments and has strong representation and active participation in Regional Fisheries Management Organizations. It remains committed to implementing the National Tuna Management Plan.

DA agro-industrialization advisor Rodolfo Vicera said a stronger partnership between the entire tuna industry, local government units and the national government would be better to help and empower the country’s small farmers and fishermen.

“The industry is the second largest exporter and producer of tuna in the world and General Santos City is the tuna capital not only in the Philippines but in Southeast Asia,” he said.

The pH remains sufficient for sardines

The sufficiency level for sardines or tamban is set at 222.58% for the first quarter of 2022 and 409.06% for the second quarter of 2022 based on current data from both the Philippine Statistics Authority and DA-BFAR.

For this year, DA-BFAR forecasts an annual production of 293,431 metric tons (MT), which covers the national demand of 101,367 MT. The volume obtained entirely from domestic sources comes from commercial and municipal fishermen, with a share of 208,387 MT and 85,043 MT, respectively.

Data from the National Stock Assessment Program of the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI) showed that the sardine stock has improved significantly, resulting in more sardines reaching mature and suitable sizes.

Stable supply is linked to the effective implementation of the National Sardine Management Plan, a five-year plan that aligns all sardine policies and programs, including conservation measures such as closed fishing seasons. Since its introduction in 2020, a marked improvement in production and supply has been recorded.

The Canned Sardine Association of the Philippines (CSAP) has called for the opening of municipal waters to commercial fishing vessels. DA-BFAR explained that under Republic Act 10654 or the Fisheries Code of the Philippines, as amended, small and medium commercial fishing vessels are allowed to operate in municipal waters within 10.1 to 15 kilometers from the shoreline, provided the local government unit passes a municipal ordinance. can be given. allows it to function.

As the primary government agency mandated to manage the nation’s fisheries and aquatic resources, DA-BFAR remains firmly committed to increasing production and ensuring fish sufficiency through sustainable means and without compromising the ecological integrity of our aquatic and marine environments.

Seafood safe training

DA-BFAR conducted seafood safety training for eight employees of the City Veterinary Office in Pasay City in August. They received training from the Fisheries Post-Harvest Technologies Division of DA-BFAR.

Training participants learned the rules for food safety officers and health workers, food safety and good practices for handling fish and fish products. These trainings are essential for mitigating food safety issues in local wet markets as well as strengthening partnerships and collaboration with local government units in ensuring food safety.

At the same time, this September is the annual observance of Marine and Archipelago Nations Awareness Month (MANA Mo), which aims to address threats to coastal ecosystems and biodiversity, as well as general marine and archipelago advocacy.

DA-BFAR is one with the nation in providing a whole-of-people approach to achieving harmony and unity among Philippine maritime stakeholders in raising national awareness of various maritime issues and concerns.

The country aims for a “food secure and resilient Philippines with prosperous farmers and fishers,” the theme of the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources’ 59th On Fish celebration.

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