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BFAR: No shortage of sardines despite Zamboanga conflict

/ 06:17 PM September 19, 2013

AFP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said Thursday that the fishing industry in Zamboanga City was not paralyzed by clashes between the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels and government forces.

BFAR director Asis Perez, in an interview with Radyo Inquirer 990 AM, said that buffer stocks of fish in Zamboanga were enough to maintain the manufacturing of sardines.

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“We can assure to the public that there will be no shortage. We have enough supply. In fact, what we are manufacturing today, these are intended for December to February market,” Perez said.

For as long as the Zamboanga standoff persists, the manufacturers will prioritize the local production before exporting seafood products, the BFAR official said.

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He pointed out that canned fish manufacturers, which consist of 16 companies, have cut down production to about 50 percent.

About one million canned fishes were being produced in Zamboanga City alone, said Perez.

“But based on our reports, factories, during the conflict, were not halted but they reduced their production capacity due to shortage of raw materials,” he said.

The BFAR, in cooperation with its regional office, has deployed teams to ensure the security of fishermen in Zamboanga waters.

Perez said that the Philippine Coast Guard had also launched a monitoring and surveillance vessel to look over them.

Most villages seized by the MNLF are coastal communities of the city, posing a riskier sailing area for fishermen.

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TAGS: Conflict, Fisheries, food industry, Zamboanga standoff
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