Fish importation must end in 2023 – group

Elizabeth Marcelo - The Philippine Star
Fish importation must end in 2023 � group
Market vendors are seen selling different fish products at the Paco Wet Market in Manila on December 3, 2022.
STAR / Ernie Penaredondo

MANILA, Philippines — Fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) has demanded an end to fish importation this year, saying the continuous imports impact local production to the detriment of the fisheries sector.

“We reassert that importation must end this year and in the coming years. Instead, the government must strengthen local production through subsidy and other livelihood support as well as securing the exclusive rights of Filipino fishers in their fishing grounds and coastal communities,” Pamalakaya national spokesman Ronnel Arambulo said.

In the last five years, the country imported around 190,000 metric tons of fish from China, Vietnam and Taiwan.

The fisherfolk group said this massive importation caused an adverse impact on local production as imported fish further pulled down farm gate prices of the local catch of Filipino fishers.

The group noted that the farm gate price of galunggong (round scad) remains below P120 per kilogram despite an all-time-high retail price of P250 per kilo.

The group specifically urged President Marcos, concurrent agriculture secretary, to repeal importation policies, including the Fisheries Administrative Order 195 and Certificate of Necessity to Import.

“Marcos Jr. is accountable to the continued bankruptcy of our agriculture and fisheries courtesy of his neglect to address the plight of farmers and fishers in the midst of successive natural calamities and inflation,” Arambulo said.

The group also reiterated its call for a P15,000 production subsidy for each of the almost two million registered fisherfolk nationwide.

“This should not be denied to our ailing fishers because this will help boost our local production and ultimately the domestic food security,” Arambulo said.

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