The country’s fish supply has remained stable despite the onslaught of tropical storm “Paeng” (international name: Nalgae) and various farming groups have said there is no need to flood the market with imported fish.
Taal Lake Aquaculture Alliance Inc. (TLAAI) and the Philippine Tilapia Stakeholders Association said the recent typhoon that made landfall in the Philippines did not hamper their production and they can still meet the fish needs of the country.
“We want the government to know that our industry remains resilient despite high winds, rain and flooding. Although Tropical Storm Paeng affected many fish farmers, it did not hamper our production,” said TLAAI Director Mario Balazon.
“We agree with the statement made by Mario Balazon of TLAAI. There is not much damage here in Pampanga. We are always prepared here in Minalin because we do not use nets. We use dykes and we are affected more by dams releasing water than by typhoons,” said Jon Juico, president of the Philippine Tilapia Stakeholders Association.
Balazon expressed his belief that the domestic aquaculture industry, in particular, is still capable of supplying fish to Filipino consumers.
Amid Paeng’s minimal impact on the sector, he would be able to bounce back in no time.
Earlier, the Agriculture Ministry said weather disruptions wiped out 2.74 billion pesos worth of agricultural produce. Of which, the fishing sector suffered 201.64 million pesos in damage.
Balazon said aquaculture in Talisay, Batangas, suffered losses of around 22 million pesos, adding around 200 tons of fish that escaped from cages while in Calauan, Laguna, the supply of fingerlings has been taken away.
Both Balazon and Juico urged the government not to allow another round of imports, as such a move would force producers to sell fish at a discount and support the local industry.
According to Juico, local producers were forced to sell their fish at only 60 to 70 pesos per kilogram last year due to the influx of fish imports, although the cost of producing this product reached 90 pesos. per kg.
Tugon Kabuhayan manager Asis Perez said farm gate prices for tilapia had fallen to 60 pesos per kg in Pampanga and 70 pesos per kg in Taal Lake, but retail prices were the same, between 120 and 130 pesos per kg.
“Based on our experience over the past few years, when the government has looked at importing, our aquaculture producers have suffered, but there is hardly any palpable public benefit,” Perez said.
“But when there are too many imports, especially by those who are not in the regular galunggong (round scad) fishery. They tend to dump their excess imports into public markets, which disrupts the market and creates food safety concerns as they arrive in large frozen polystyrene boxes and are thawed before sale,” Norbert Chingcuanco, manager of Tugon Kabuhayan, told INQ
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