Philippines eyes 94% fish sufficiency
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - May 18, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Even with the dismal performance in the first quarter, the Department of Agriculture is still hoping to achieve a 94 percent fish sufficiency level and increase it further next year.

In a webinar, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said challenges continued to hound the fisheries sector and more interventions need to be done to unlock its full potential.

“We are almost 90 percent sufficient in fish and we look toward the future of a fish sufficient Philippines, expecting 94 percent level throughout the country this year,” Dar said.

“With elevated measures and our interventions, we are hoping that by 2021, we shall be able to reach 96 percent,” he said.

Currently, the Philippines is 89 percent fish sufficient. Sixty percent of production comes from capture fishing, while the remaining 40 percent is from aquaculture.

As of 2019, an estimated 87 million Filipinos eat fish with per capita consumption at 38.2 kilograms per year. The country produced 2.9 million metric tons of fish last year.

“We are upgrading and elevating our game to resuscitate aquaculture and capture fishing. Fisheries have been affected by the pandemic, distortion of the food supply chain have been terrible and to some extent even led to the spike of prices,” Dar said.

“We can do it as long as we believe that the power of science and technology can fuel the growth and development of the fishery sector with engagement of all stakeholders. This can be achieved by utilizing sustainable effective and science based policies and programs in conserving and sustaining marine resources,” he said.

The agri chief emphasized that illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing remains one of the biggest challenges in the sector with some countries encroaching in Philippine fishing waters.

“They are competing, if not depriving our commercial fishers in catching fish in the open seas,” Dar said.

Climate change is also another as its effect on the environment, especially to the oceans, tends to cascade in the size and yield of the catch and negatively impacts biodiversity in the waters.

In the first quarter, the fisheries sub-sector, which made up 12.8 percent of total farm output, plummeted by 5.2 percent to P63.3 billion.

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