PRICES of fish have gone up during the closed fishing season, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Thursday.
Prices have been increasing because fishermen spend more on gasoline trying to catch fish that go to warmer waters, Agriculture spokesperson Noel O. Reyes said at a briefing.
Based on the agency’s daily price monitoring, as of Thursday, the prices of milkfish averaged P175 per kilo from P170.81 per kilo the day earlier; tilapia prices increased to P111.59 from P107.26; local round scad or galunggong prices rose to P222.40 from P221.36, and mackerel prices increased to P300 from P252.
To curb this, the Agriculture department approved as early as October the importation of 45,000 metric tons (MT) of frozen fish and other aquatic products to ensure enough supply during the closed fishing season.
The Zamboanga Peninsula also started its three-month ban on sardine fishing on Dec. 1.
The closed season gives fish species the time to spawn or breed freely and restore its population.
“In order to ensure national food security taking into consideration public welfare… the importation of 45,000 MT of frozen fish and fishery or aquatic products for wet markets is hereby certified as necessary,” the agency said in a certificate of importation signed by Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar.
This is in line with the Fisheries Code, which contains guidelines on imports and exports.
Under the law, an import certificate is valid for 90 days. Fish that will be imported will depend on what the market needs, which is mostly round scad, mackerel and squid.
Mr. Reyes said the import volume was enough to meet the demand for the last three months of the year.
In 2018, the agency allowed imports of round scad imports to ensure sufficient supply during the holidays after local production stopped during the closed fishing season that ran until March this year. — Vincent Mariel P. Galang