PHL to import 25,000 MT of fish due to closed season

By Francis Allan L Angelo

The Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) has announced the approval of a significant fish importation plan to counter the anticipated shortage during the upcoming closed fishing season.

A DA press statement said Agriculture Secretary Francisco P. Tiu Laurel Jr. has sanctioned the importation of 25,000 metric tons of pelagic fish species, to be completed before January 15, 2025.

This preemptive measure addresses the reduced fish supply expected from the three-month fishing moratorium starting November 1 in areas northeast of Palawan and extending from November 15 in the Visayan Seas and the Zamboanga Peninsula.

These regions, crucial for the spawning of small pelagic fish such as sardines and mackerel, are critical to maintaining the ecological balance and ensuring sustainable fishing practices.

Tiu Laurel detailed that 80% of the imported volume is designated for registered importers within the commercial fishing sector. The remaining 20% will be distributed among fisheries associations and cooperatives.

Each commercial importer is allocated a minimum import volume (MIV) of 112 metric tons, equivalent to four containers, while fisheries associations and cooperatives are allotted 56 metric tons, or two containers.

Additional volumes will be assigned based on the importer’s share of fish landings over the past three years.

The Secretary emphasized that applications for sanitary and phytosanitary permits can be submitted following the DA’s order, with validity for importation set between September 1 and November 30.

However, the distribution of frozen pelagic fish in the market is permitted only from October 1.

All imported fish must adhere to a certificate of necessity, and their distribution is overseen by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

“BFAR shall encourage importers to immediately trade imported fish to ensure that it doesn’t overlap with local catch by the end of the closed fishing season,” Secretary Tiu Laurel said in the order dated April 23.

Import allocations are strictly non-transferrable. Participation is limited to importers with no pending food safety cases, those who possess necessary Bureau of Customs accreditations or clearances, have engaged in the last three importation activities under the Fisheries Administrative Order 259, and have demonstrated efficient use of previous allocations.

Importers are also required to source fish from reputable suppliers and avoid stocks from illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities, ensuring compliance with both local and international fishing regulations. (Photo courtesy of DA-BFAR)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here