By Ellalyn de Vera-Ruiz
The supply of fresh fish in the market remains adequate to meet the national demand even with the extended implementation of the enhanced community quarantine in some areas in Luzon, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).
DA Secretary William Dar noted that the lifting of closed fishing season in major fishing areas in the country and peak of fishing activities in the second quarter ensure that the supply of fresh fish may end with a surplus at yearend.
Citing the projection of the DA’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Dar said 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 by June 30.
BFAR also has an optimistic outlook for the entire year with supply (3,349,424 MT) slightly exceeding demand (3,332,510 MT), on top of the total fish supply for January 2021.
Philippine Fisheries Development Authority General Manager Glen Pangapalan 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 enhance community quarantine.
“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,” Pangapalan said.
“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.
He also noted that the wholesale prices of popular fish species like bangus, tilapia, galunggong, yellow-fin tuna, and matambaka at all PFDA regional fish ports, have remained stable compared to other commercial species during the quarantine period.