Sardines shortage? Fishers’ group thinks it’s just a ploy
MANILA, Philippines — An organization of fisherfolk on Tuesday asserted that the supposed shortage of “tamban” (Indian sardines) is only being used by big fishing firms to make their large vessels enter the country’s municipal waters.
But Fernando Hicap, national chairperson of the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), insisted that “municipal waters should remain as it is – exclusive [for] small fisherfolk.”
“Operators of commercial fishing vessels should not take advantage of this alleged tamban shortage to push their legal entry [into] the municipal fishing zone,” he said in a statement.
“Big-fishing vessels remain to be one of the major threats to small fishers because their large-scale and even destructive operations exhaust and exploit the fishery and marine resources,” Hicap added.
Commercial fishing vessels are those weighing 3.1 gross tons and above, and the Pamalakaya said they should not be allowed to enter within the 15-kilometer municipal fishing grounds from the coastline.
Pamalakaya issued the statement after sardine manufacturers warned of a possible shortage in sardine products due to a purported low supply of “tamban” fish.
However, Hicap pointed out that even the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) reported a 222.58 percent “tamban” sufficiency during the first quarter of 2022.
“The BFAR should remain vigilant against this fabricated tamban-shortage that will only favor the big-fishing firms and operators over the interests of small fishers and consumers,” he said. — Lyka Farillon, trainee
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