Tuna industry won’t grow due to int’l fishing rule – mayor
GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – The tuna industry will not experience significant growth in the next years due to restrictions imposed by foreign countries on fishing in international waters, according to city Mayor Ronnel Rivera.
“The tuna industry won’t pose any significant growth for the years to come due to the strict regulations imposed by foreign countries regarding fishing in international waters,” he said.
But Rivera, speaking at the start of the annual tuna festival here Friday, clarified this did not mean that the very industry that has given livelihood to residents more than any other industry has been “flunking.”
He said the tuna industry has remained the city’s main economic driver and would continue to be so.
According to Rivera, the tuna industry here remains the country’s top grosser and has not been dislodged by Mindoro as the tuna capital of the Philippines.
Rivera said Mindoro has remained far behind the city in terms of catch, despite the predicament of restrictive fishing imposed by countries the Philippines has been sharing borders with.
He said in 2013 alone, the city’s total fish catch was 167,578 tons compared to just 600,000 kilos that Mindoro recorded for the combined years 2012 and 2013.
“This is a city built on tuna,” Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) director Asis Perez declared during the opening the 16th Tuna Congress’ trade fair and exhibit on Thursday.
Perez said the tuna industry has been shaping the city’s economy and providing local employment generation.
In his speech, Perez also lauded the small fishers that made the city what it has become.
“The true heroes of the fishing industry in the city are the small local fishermen who have worked hard perennially just to catch fishes,” he said.
Joaquin Lu, president of the South Cotabato-Sultan Kudarat-Sarangani-General Santos Fishing Federation and Allied Industries Inc. (SFFAII), said he was optimistic that the tuna industry would continue to thrive because of the support of the local government.
“Our current administration here in GenSan is always ready to help the fishing sector,” he said.
Last year, local officials here worked hard for the approval of a Special Management Area (SMA), which sought fishing access to Pacific High Seas Pocket 1.
Fishing in the said area is being regulated by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.