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Philippines Hopes for 5.48 MMT Fisheries Output in 2013

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PHILIPPINES - WITH the conservation measures it has put in place and the re-opening of a portion of the Pacific Ocean for tuna fishing, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has set the countrys fisheries production target for 2013 at 5.48 million metric ton (MMT).

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Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said the target is 6.48 per cent higher than the original fisheries output target for 2012, reports BusinessMirror.

Fisheries production for next year will be lead by aquaculture with a production target of 2.98 MMT, said Alcala in a report he presented before the House of Representatives recently.

The fisheries subsector, which has buoyed farm growth in previous years, registered slower growth from January to June. For the first half of the year, total fisheries output declined by 3.33 percent, according to figures released by the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS).

The BAS said the decline in output was mainly due to the lower production of commercial and municipal fisheries.

The lower catch of commercial fishermen was attributed to the closure of a portion of the high seas in the Pacific Ocean for tuna fishing while typhoons prevented small fishermen from going out to sea.

Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Director Asis Perez expressed confidence that despite the decline in fisheries output for the first half, the fisheries subsector would still be able to post a growth of one per cent for the rest of 2012.

The Philippine government is banking on the re-opening of a portion of the high seas in the Pacific Ocean for tuna fishing in September to prop up commercial fisheries for the rest of the year.

The BFAR is also hopeful the restrictions it has put in place such as the banning of sardine fishing in Zamboanga last year would allow fish species to regenerate and consequently increase the catch of fishermen.

Last year the fisheries subsector posted a 4.07-per cent drop in output owing to the decline in the production of commercial and municipal fisheries.

Fisheries production for 2011 settled at 4.98 MMT, with aquaculture accounting for most or 2.6 MMT of total output.

The BAS said the continuous increases in the prices of fuel and oil was cited as a major factor behind the decline in commercial fisheries output.

Also, the BAS said typhoons and high-operating costs reduced the fishing activities of small fishermen last year.