THE SUPPLY and prices of fish sold in the so-called “NCR plus” quarantine area, consisting of the National Capital Region and Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and Bulacan provinces, have stabilized, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said in a statement Tuesday that the normalization of the fish market coincides with the peak season at the country’s main marine fishing grounds.

“(Between) April 8 and 14, total volume of marine fish catch unloaded at the Navotas Fish Port Complex amounted to 3,760 metric tons (MT), 200 MT more than the previous week,” Mr. Dar said.

Mr. Dar said 2,280 MT consisted of galunggong, (round scad) while the remainder consisted of species known by their local names such as turay, tulingan, tunsoy, tamban, pusit (squid), matambaka, gulyasan, dalagang bukid (yellowtail fusilier), and shrimp.

He said these fish were sourced from Eastern and Northern Palawan, the Zamboanga Peninsula, and the Visayan Sea.

“Supply of bangus (milkfish) and tilapia were also abundant from fish pens and fishponds of Bulacan, Pangasinan, Taal Lake in Batangas, and Laguna de Bay,” Mr. Dar said.

Mr. Dar said the prevailing retail prices of in-demand fishery products were stable in most public markets in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

He added that the price of galunggong ranged from P180 to P240 per kilogram, tilapia P120 to P130, and bangus P180.

“These were an improvement compared to prices during the latter part of 2020 and first quarter of 2021, when prices of galunggong were as high as P300 per kilogram, bangus P220 per kilogram, and tilapia P160 per kilogram,” Mr. Dar said.

“In the months ahead, we will continue to make fishery products and food, in general, accessible and affordable to all consumers, particularly in the ‘NCR plus’ area and in other urban communities, where the threat of hunger looms,” he added.

At a virtual briefing on Tuesday, Agriculture Undersecretary Cheryl Marie Natividad-Caballero said the DA continues to provide support and assistance to keep fishermen safe all over the country, especially in the West Philippine Sea.

Ms. Natividad-Caballero said the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources is conducting patrols with the help of the Philippine Coast Guard and the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea.

“We continue to strengthen our capability to monitor our commercial fishers as well as those fishers involved in the West Philippine Sea and even in the high seas such as the installation of transponders for better tracking,” Ms. Natividad-Caballero said.

Recently, Chinese ships have been sighted in parts of the Sea which the Philippines claims as part of its exclusive economic zone. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave