Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar has challenged the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to further increase the contribution of the fishery sector to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
“I strongly urge you — the men and women of BFAR — to unleash the potentials of the country’s fishing industry, particularly the aquaculture sector, and ensure sustained bigger growth,” Dar told the bureau during the inauguration of the new Fisheries Building Complex in Quezon City Wednesday, July 21.
While the fisheries sector currently contributes about 17 to 18 percent to the GDP in agriculture, the secretary stressed that the figure “could further increase if relevant programs and projects are efficiently and effectively implemented to unleash the sector’s potentials.”
He underscored that BFAR should sustainably develop the aquaculture sub-sector, aimed particularly at increasing the production of bangus, tilapia, and shrimps. Priority should also be given to seaweed and shellfish production, he reckoned.
“It’s not just about improving productivity, but see to it that supplies are abundant and properly mobilized during the lean months and closed fishing season to temper fish prices and food inflation,” Dar said.
On the commercial fishery sub-sector, the DA chief said the government will encourage stakeholders to modernize their operations by acquiring new fishing vessels and equipment.
“We have requested the Development Bank of the Philippines and Land Bank of the Philippines to provide commercial fishing operators a credit window that will enable them to replace old vessels and acquire new ones,” he said.
For municipal fishers and their families, he said the DA-BFAR will continue to provide them the needed production, technical and marketing assistance, as well as additional sources of livelihood.
He also reminded the bureau to be vigilant against smuggling and illegal entry of fishery and marine products.