DA suspends importation of ‘galunggong,’ bonito

DA suspends importation of ‘galunggong,’ bonito

DA suspends importation of ‘galunggong,’ bonito

PREVENTIVE MEASURE Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. signed the suspension order on April 1 based on reports that the fish varieties were being diverted to wet markets, affecting supply and demand and reducing the income of local fishermen. —INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) has suspended the importation of frozen round scad (galunggong), bonito (tulingan) and mackerel (alumahan) after receiving several reports that these commodities were being diverted to wet markets to the detriment of local fisherfolk.

In Memorandum Order No. 14, the DA put on hold the issuance of import clearances for these fishery products intended solely for canning and processing and for institutional buyers catering to the requirements of hotels and restaurants.


“The top commodities that are identified as prone to diversion [to local wet markets] are round scad, bonito and mackerel,” the order read.


The suspension order, signed by Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. on April 1, will take effect 15 days after its issuance.

READ: PH fishers seek end to fish importation

The order excludes the importation of mackerel for canning purposes, provided that the volume should be based on the sales of the canned product from the previous year plus an additional 10 percent for buffer.

It added that all mackerel imports entering the country should carry the following label in clear and readable font size: “Imported Under FAO (Fisheries Administrative Order) No. 195 for Canning Purposes Only and not for Sale or Distribution to Wet Markets and Supermarkets.”

Protecting local fishers

Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) spokesperson Nazario Briguera said the diversion of these fish varieties to wet markets “could disrupt the supply and demand” and “would have a repercussion on the local fishery industry.”

“First, this is illegal. Aside from this, it will cause the disruption of supply and demand dynamics in the wet markets [and] create competition with the locally produced [fish],” Briguera said in a message to the Inquirer.


Promulgated in 1999, FAO No. 1995 allows institutional buyers to source fish and fishery/aquatic products from abroad, but only for canning and processing and when certified as necessary by the agriculture secretary to achieve food security.

Institutional buyers, which refer to entities or corporations authorized to import fish for final consumption or processing as food requirements for accredited hotels and restaurants, may do so without the required certificate of necessity to import.

READ: DA allows fish importation for wet markets in Oct to Dec

Illegal diversion

However, this led to the diversion of some of the imported fish to wet markets, at times pushing down prices that affected the earnings of local fisherfolk.

The last time the DA imposed an import suspension due to such diversion was in December 2022.

At that time, the agency temporarily banned even canners from importing round scad and moonfish (bilong-bilong) and processors from purchasing imported round scad, bonito, mackerel, moonfish, pompano, and tuna byproducts.

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In Metro Manila, local round scad retailed for as low as P160 a kilo as of Tuesday, down from P180 a year ago, based on the DA’s monitoring of wet market prices. INQ

TAGS: Department of Agriculture, Fish Importation

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