Fishta links Busuanga fishery communities to Japan, Canada

Danessa Rivera - The Philippine Star
Fishta links Busuanga fishery communities to Japan, Canada
Various seafood products are on display for sale at the fish market in Dagupan City on May 30, 2023.
Cesar Ramirez / The Philippine STAR

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino seafood exporter Fishta Seafood Inc. (FSI) has linked fishing communities in Busuanga, Palawan to export to Japan and Canada under a sustainable fishing program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

FSI said it has partnered with the USAID Fish Right and Seatrace International Inc. to promote responsible fish sourcing, and reverse the adverse impact of illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The company’s program with USAID aims to sustain food production while protecting the seas and fish populations.

It recognizes that the Philippines loses an estimated P68.5 billion yearly from illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.

FSI general manager Carina Ong Tan said they anticipate long term benefits to the livelihood of at least 50 women in Busuanga.

“This is an example of the idea of introducing innovation and market linkage direct to the source, from the fishing communities themselves. We buy their products direct from them, and they no longer have to go to traders,” she said.

“It’s a program that gives attention to the island itself. Other fishing communities go to us for the replication of this program. We can contribute these ideas to the seafood industry because we have access to technology and markets. This way, we can make an impact directly to fisherfolks,” Tan said.

The USAID program has supported protection of fishery areas through key marine biodiversity areas (KMBA) in Calamianes Island, Southern Negros, and Visayan Sea.

FSI has also contributed to the empowerment of 50 women and their families as the Department of Trade and Industry granted them a brine cold storage facility.

It is also developing traceability to ensure food safety in its products. With this, consumers are able to send feedback on the quality of a seafood product as their origin may be traced.

With traceability, the company can pull back products in the market that pose any adverse risk on human health.

“We are still in the process of creating our RSS (responsibility sourced seafood standard) policy to achieve 100 percent traceability and transparency in our supply chain,” Tan said.

FSI, a spinoff from parent firm aquaculture feeds producer Santeh Feeds Corp. (SFC), supplies seafoods to supermarkets, restaurants, and overseas markets from its owned or contracted farms. These are in the form of live, frozen, chilled, and smoked products.

It invested in the seafoods supply chain to achieve fish production sustainability, ensure its products’ safety, and reach bigger local and export markets.

FSI also invested in facilities such as blast freezing, indirect contract freezing, and individually quick-frozen technology.

Meanwhile, SFC boasts of ISO-certified manufacturing facilities that produce optimally bioavailable ingredients for fast seafood growth and for environmental sustainability.

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