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Fishers group moves to end ‘middlemen practice’ to lower fish prices

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018


Filipino fisherman catches fishes at a flood control facility in Taguig City | PVI/Francis Malasig


QUEZON CITY, Philippines – A group of fishermen called on the government to stop the proposed importation of “poor man’s fish” or galunggong.

According to the group “Pamalakaya,” importation of round scad is not the solution to the rising prices of fish variety in local markets today but the old practice of employing “middlemen” in the local trading system.

“Halimbawa sa isang fish port, makakarating doon sa consumer ay mga apat hanggang limang kamay na ang dadaanan. Sa bawat dadaanang kamay niyan ay tumutubo sila,” said the group’s representative Fernando Hicap during a protest in front of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Office in Quezon City on Wednesday (August 22).

Hicap said such is the reason why the price of galunggong skyrocketed to P180 to P200 a kilogram.

The group also expressed concern that importation may pose a health risk as the imported fish may be loaded with formaldehyde.

They argued that consumers may choose to buy a different variety of fish if in case there is no supply of galunggong available in the market for a certain period.

But according to Agriculture undersecretary and BFAR director Eduardo Gongona, there is scarcity in supply of round scad, hence the need for importation. For now, commercial fishing vessels couldn’t enter the municipal waters due to the law on unreported and unregulated fishing or R.A. 10654.

“Ang fish ay contributory doon sa inflation rate natin na 5.7. Kailangn hindi na tumaas iyon at hindi na mag-rise uli ang presyo niya. Ang immediate solution niyan is to import,” Gongona said.

The agency assured strict quality control over the importation process to ensure that the products are free of formaldehyde content.

The official also assured that the government is finding ways to limit the number of agents being employed as middlemen in order to reduce fish prices. – Rey Pelayo / Marje Pelayo

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BFAR to investigate soaring prices of fish in markets

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Wednesday, November 14th, 2018


MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) wants to know why the prices of selected fish varieties in local markets are high as compared to the issued suggested retail price (SRP) from the agency.

Earlier on Wednesday (November 14), Agriculture Secretary and BFAR Director Eduardo Gondona made rounds in major markets in Metro Manila including Tandang Sora, Munoz, Balintawak and Kamuning Market.

They have noticed the staggering prices of various varieties of round scad or galunggong.

Each kilogram of round scad sells at P190 in Muniz Market and Tandang Sora whereas the SRP is only at P140/kg.

Milkfish sells at P220 whereas the SRP is only at P160/kg.

Gondona was asking why such an increase when in fact, there was no indication of price adjustments yet from the existing SRP even if agriculture and fishery sector have suffered losses from the onslaught of the previous typhoon Rosita.

Gondona also noted that the 17M of imported rice have started to arrive in shipments.

“Posible na may nagma-manipulate ng presyo. Kasi dapat within the SRP lang tayo. Bakit umabot ang iba ng mas mataas?” the official said.

He noted that vendors can only adjust prices up to 10% from the SRP.

But vendors argued that the need to mark up of as high as P25 to P30 because they need to pay for the stall’s rent.

Gondona believes there are people behind this manipulation of fish prices. He warned them of facing charges if proven guilty of profiteering. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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BFAR suspects manipulation in price of round scad

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, October 9th, 2018



MANILA, Philippines – Milkfish sells at P180/kg in Mega Q-Mart in Quezon City.

According to most fish vendors, the price of milkfish was only P140/kg some weeks ago.

Fish vendor Rex Hemson said the price may have spiked because of shortage in supply. This could be the reason, according to another vendor,Ricky Dumpang, why fewer and fewer people are buying milkfish.

However, based on the information provided by the Philippine Milkfish Industry Group to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), there is an abundant supply of milkfish even in Pangasinan, the major supplier of milkfish in the country.

The agency said the spike in prices of milkfish could be an impact of the rising prices of gasoline.

BFAR argues that deliveries usually pass through up to four middlemen before they reach their destination.

“Farm gate price of bangus (milkfish) in Pangasinan is at P125-P127 / kilogram. The reported apparent spike in prices could be attributed to fuel cost,” said BFAR’s Under Secretary Eduardo Gongona.

Meanwhile, the price of round scad remains at P140 to P160/kg in Mega Q-Mart though vendors observe that it is still higher than the previous price of P120/kg.

“Kapag marami kalakal mababa, pagka medyo kokonti siyempre mataas. Bidding din kasi yan sa pakyawan,” vendor Rorry Barcelon said.

“Mula nung June yata o May? Hindi na bumaba yung presyo ng galunggong lalo lang tumaas,” said another vendor Mila Donor.

BFAR suspects that there is a manipulation in the price of round scad because despite delays in the delivery of imported round scad, the price in local markets remain low.

“It’s not even at P140/kg suggested retail price. So mayroong nagma-manipulate siguro diyan,” Gongona said.

The food industry stakeholders join the anti-illegal fishing summit at PICC in order to come up with ways to protect major source of marine products in the country. – Rey Pelayo / Marje Pelayo

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Crackdown on illegal fishing reduces fish production in E. Visayas

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

(file photo)

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines – Fish production in Eastern Visayas hit a significant drop in recent months following the region’s crackdown on illegal fishing.

Region 8 Director Juan Albaladejo to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said authorities already arrested a total of 1,907 individuals in its 487 anti-illegal fishing operations from September 2017 to June 2018.

He added that about 95% of commercial fishing vessels in the region were illegal.

Since they started to intensify their campaign against undocumented and unreported fishing, fish production in the region dropped by 49% in the municipal waters of Eastern Visayas.

“Noong maghigpit tayo malaki ang fines na between P500,000 to about P3 million. Kung foreign vessel from $50,000 to about $100,000. So pagkahigpit, lahat sila nag lay low. Marami rin kaming nahuli,” said Albaladejo.

Meanwhile, the agency is planning to implement a close season in Samar sea from April to July next year once they have finalized the discussion with fisherfolk organizations on the matter.

“We want to make our municipal fisheries more efficient. Unang una restore the population of fish to the areas. Hopefully ang ating fisherman instead of getting 1 to 2 kilos for 2 to 3 hours na fishing magiging good na kung maka 10 to 20 kilos per fishing effort nila,” the official said.

Director Albaladejo added that they plan to boost shellfish production in areas to be affected by the close fishing season as an alternative source of income to fishers. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Archyl Egano)

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