BFAR director proposes galunggong buffer stock

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FRESH ROUND SCAD or galunggong in Navotas Fishport — PHILSTAR/MICHAEL VARCAS

A BUFFER stock system is needed to ease supply disruptions in the market for round scad, or galunggong, which will require cold storage sufficient for at least six months of reserves, a fisheries official said.

Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources National Director Eduardo B. Gongona told BusinessWorld in an interview that “the best thing to do is to have a buffer stock good for at least six months, and cold storage… There is no food security in importation. We have to lessen importation.”

Mr. Gongona said the government needs to import galunggong because of disruptions in the fishing season due to adverse weather.

“We are importing because… the peak season has been delayed by the habagat (southwest monsoon), rain and typhoons, and then we’re heading into the lean months up to end of February. And then we will implement a closed fishing season,” Mr. Gongona said.

He noted that the closed fishing season will run between November and March 1, 2019.

“During the closed season, you are allowed to fish with handlines but not nets… We have 24 major fishing grounds and we implement (closed season) only in Palawan, Zamboanga Peninsula and the Visayan Sea… We still have local production but it’s not enough so we have to import,” Mr. Gongona said.

He also said that the fishing sector, both the municipal and commercial segments, need to cooperate to manage fish stocks.

Earlier, Senate agriculture and food committee chair Cynthia A. Villar said that the government needs to promote aquaculture as an alternative to importing round scad, which threatens the livelihood of 1.5-million fisherfolk. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio