Sardines shortage? Solon says DTI, DA should try to avoid this soon

The Philippines should ensure the supply of sardines for the next fishing season this early in order to avoid the possibility of a shortage.

Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda (Facebook)

Thus, said Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda as he called on the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) to engage the canned fish sector on supply concerns, especially with sardines.

“It looks like supply levels remain manageable, as the industry was able to meet the 75,000 metric tons it is required to store during the closed season. But I also expect demand for canned sardines to pick-up this year,” Salceda said in a statement Friday, Feb. 24.

He said sardines must be allowed to reproduce following the close of the fishing season in the Zamboanga Peninsula, which happens every year from Dec. 1 to Feb. 28, "to ensure that there is no shortage of canned sardines during the subsequent season.”

“And there remain underlying issues, like the suggested retail price (SRP) being below the cost at which some of the canners produce. With marketing costs, the price is P20, which is above the P18 SRP," the economist-solon said.

“Right now, the most immediate probable result is a lack of supply of some brands in supermarkets, especially as manufacturers try to skip shelf-space fees in supermarkets," he noted,

“So, I am requesting the DTI and the DA to engage in dialogue with the industry and with small players and stakeholders as soon as possible, so we can prevent this potential problem from materializing," he said.

Salceda said there is also need to strengthen collaboration with alternative fish sources, such as Papua New Guinea, "which is one of our biggest sources of sardines".

Salceda also said that the country needs to ramp up the completion of the 54 legislated hatcheries, only 3 of which have been completed.

“In the long run, of course, we really need to work on fish supply, because climate issues won’t get easier any time soon.”