The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) of the Department of Agriculture (DA) estimated the country’s fish deficit to hit 119,000 metric tons (MT) in the first quarter of 2022.
To plug the shortfall, Agriculture Secretary William Dar signed Monday the Certificate of Necessity to Import (CNI) 60,000 MT of small pelagic fish.
Dar reported massive damages sustained by the fisheries sub-sector from Typhoon Odette amounting to almost P4 billion, which added to reduced fish production due to the closed fishing season.
“We are bolstering the aquaculture sector to close gaps in fish production and sustainably improve our catch,” he added.
The DA also foresees spikes in fisheries and aquaculture input costs, as global prices of petroleum and fish feed inch upwards.
“We are, as always, striking the crucial balance to ensure fish security among consumers while coming to the aid of our fish producers,” Dar said.
He explained that the CNI is seen as a means to stem the high prices of fish in the local wet markets and even in groceries and supermarkets.
To help the subsector, the DA has allotted P 50 million from the P 1 billion Quick Response Fund for post-Odette recovery effort.
The fund was allocated for the distribution of marine diesel/gasoline engines, fabrication of durable fiberglass fishing boats, and the distribution of fisheries relief goods such as canned tuna, sardines, and frozen fish.
The amount added to the P35 million worth of fisheries interventions already distributed in the most affected region.