The Department of Agriculture (DA) said it may now suspend the importation of galunggong (round scad) as it has noted increased supply in the domestic market.
“We’re intending to suspend the importation already because there are a lot of fish now in the market,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said in a recent interview with reporters.
The DA allowed the importation and sale of round scad in wet markets last year after the inflation rate in August 2018 surged to a nine-year high of 6.4 percent.
Initially, the DA allowed the importation of 17,000 metric tons (MT) of galunggong or round scad to arrest the rising prices of fisheries products in the market.
“In order to ensure national food security taking into consideration public welfare and safety and in accordance with Section 61 of Republic Act 8850, or the Philippine Fisheries Code, as amended by RA 10654, and Fisheries Administrative Order 195, Series of 1999, the importation of round scad [Decapterus spp.] up to a maximum volume of 17,000 MT is hereby certified as necessary to be imported by accredited fish importers,” Piñol said in his order in August 2018.
Piñol also said earlier that the government may allow the importation of galunggong during the closed fishing season to ensure a stable supply of the fish in domestic markets.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources told the BusinessMirror that the total volume of round scad that entered the country as of March 29 has reached 15,227 MT, out of the 17,000 MT authorized volume. Philippine round scad output in 2018 declined by 8.15 percent to 168,150 MT from the 183,080 MT recorded volume in 2017, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said.
“Continuous decline in the production of round scad was observed for the past three years. From a 13.55-percent drop in 2017, it slowed down by 8.15 percent in 2018,” PSA added.
The PSA attributed the decline to the reduced number of fishing days and lower volume of unloading from municipal fishermen due to unfavorable weather conditions.
Furthermore, it added that high fuel prices, encroachment of commercial fishing vessels and lesser appearance of the species in the fishing grounds also affected their catch.
Report written by: Jasper Y. Alcalas