PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

AN ASSOCIATION of fisherfolk, the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA), said it will issue a guide to help the public tell which fish are imported, after the government announced plans to import seafood that will compete with the local catch.

“The objective is to guide the public on how to identify the imported and local round scad (galunggong). We will release and distribute leaflets explaining why we should boycott the imported galunggong and other fishery products, and instead patronize the fresh produce of our local fishers,” PAMALAKAYA said in a statement Tuesday.

The Department of Agriculture has authorized certificates of necessity to import covering 60,000 metric tons of small pelagic fish such as galunggong to compensate for a possible drop in supply due to the closed fishing season in key fishing grounds.

Fernando L. Hicap, PAMALAKAYA national chairman, said fresh fish have clear and bulging eyes, while imported frozen fish have sunken eyes.

“We can (also) determine the freshness of the fish by its gills, which should be pinkish or bright red. Faded gills indicate that fish are past their prime,” Mr. Hicap said.

“We are calling on the consumers and fish vendors to reject the imported fish for their own safety and benefit. The fish-consuming public deserves fresh, quality fishery products, not frozen and tainted with chemical preservatives,” he added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave