THE Department of Agriculture (DA) expects a recovery in the fisheries subsector to drive agricultural output growth to above 2% in the second quarter.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said he is expecting fisheries to grow in the three months to March, after it posted a 4.61% contraction in the first quarter.
He did not give a growth estimate for fisheries, but added that first quarter performance will form a low base in fisheries due to fishing restrictions.
“We just lifted the closed fishing season so it’s expected that first quarter performance won’t be good,” he added.
He added that the fish kill in Obando, Bulacan which led to the loss of 250 metric tons of milkfish last week will not affect fisheries output.
“[For the second quarter], we’ll go up compared to the first quarter. Whatever is negative in fisheries will become positive,” he said, adding that as a result, agriculture output will be “at least 2%” in the second quarter.
The DA imposed a three-month closed fishing season late last year to allow ample time for fishing grounds to regenerate. The ban was lifted in March.
In its quarterly agricultural output report, Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) pointed to the delayed restocking of fishponds, rehabilitation of some fish pens and unfavorable weather from the tail end of 2017 affecting production.
The PSA added that in volume terms fisheries output in the first three months fell 3.03% year on year, with commercial and municipal fisheries as well as aquaculture posting declines.
Rough seas brought on by low pressure areas and typhoons led to the 3.39% drop in commercial fisheries volume output to 216,200 metric tons (MT) in the first quarter.
Municipal fisheries posted a 6.79% drop in volume to 254,800 MT. The PSA noted that output in this segment, especially in the Visayas, was hampered by the northeast monsoon.
Aquaculture volume fell 0.98% to 534,000 MT due to delayed restocking in Calabarzon while seaweed farms in Antique and Leyte were hit by disease. — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato