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Expected Fish Yields Move Up for 2008

PHILIPPINES - A target production of about 5.34 million metric tons (MT) is expected from the fisheries sector for 2007. It will be a primary driver of the country's agriculture industry.

In a report to DA Secretary Arthur Yap, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) director Malcolm Sarmiento, said that the target production consists of some 2.701 million MT from the aquaculture sector, 1.157 million MT from commercial fisheries, and 1.148 million MT from municipal fishing.

The Western Visayas region along with the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao; Mimaropa region of Mindoro Oriental, Mindoro Occidental, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan; Zamboanga Peninsula; and Calarbarzon provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon is expected to fuel the growth of the fisheries sector this year, Sarmiento said.

For his part, DA Secretary Yap pointed out that the fisheries sector was consistently the biggest gainer in terms of growth so far in the first three quarters of 2007, with its expansion increasing an impressive 7.92% in the July-September period alone.

Fourth quarter production for 2007 is estimated to reach 1.428 million MT or a surplus of 773,000 MT, he said.

Yap said the establishment of environment-friendly systems such as mariculture parks; expansion of seaweed farming; farming of high-value species such as abalone, sea urchins and sea cucumbers, and P. vannamei or Pacific white shrimp; more aggressive enforcement of anti-poaching and illegal fishing and sustained resource conservation efforts, will help sustain the growth of the fisheries sector in 2008.

To date, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has listed the Philippines as No. 8 from its previous ranking of No. 11 among the top fish-producing countries in the world.