The implementation of stricter two-week quarantine measures in the Greater Manila Area has not affected supply of fish with the Fisheries Development Authority (PFDA) reported of record high weekly fish unloading from March 16 to 23 period.
The National Capital Region and nearby provinces are still under the general community quarantine (GCQ) status, but the government has reimposed stricter quarantine protocols from March 22 up to April 4 on due to surging COVID-19 cases in these areas.
PFDA recorded the unloading of 5,533.76 metric tons (MT) of fish supply for consumers in the National Capital Region (NCR) and several areas in Central and South Luzon.
This record is by far the highest weekly unloading supply of Navotas Fish Port Complex (NFPC) since January 2021, said PFDA.
The volume of fish unloaded per sector was as follows: aquaculture (755.24 MT), marine (3,912.44 MT), and frozen (866.08 MT).
With one week before March ends, PFDA has already unloaded 15,040.57 MT of fish supply, breaking its January volume of 12,404.4 MT.
By the end of the month, the port is looking forward to exceeding its 15,384.9 MT record in February, following the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources’ (BFAR) lifting of the three-month closed fishing season in several major fishing grounds.
Galunggong, bangus, tilapia, tulingan, and tamban remain as the top five fish species with the highest availability of supply.
“PFDA-NFPC will continue to work night and day to make sure there is a sufficient supply of fish for all until the lifting of the community quarantine in NCR on April 4, and beyond,” the agency further said.
PFDA’s report came after Asis Perez, convenor of food security advocacy group Tugon Kabuhayan, asked the government to ensure the free flow of food and agricultural products during the re-imposition of GCQ in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, namely Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.
This was to avoid the repeat of food producers’ dilemma over food wastage and income loss, which was caused by the lockdown restrictions imposed early last year.
“The delays and failures in delivering produce to key population centers like Metro Manila were attributed to the disrupted supply chain caused by stricter quarantine rules,” Perez said.
“Fish and vegetables were spoiled while live hogs and cattle became emaciated as checkpoints and other quarantine protocols, affected the free flow of goods,” he added.