Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said that the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is putting up an initial four fishing ports as part of government efforts to find alternative fishing grounds following the non-renewal of a bilateral agreement that has previously given access to Filipinos to the fishing grounds of Indonesia.
"We have to increasingly go into municipal fisheries and aquaculture and at the same revitalize commercial fisheries"
Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap
The Philippine EEZ in the Pacific is home to migratory species like bluefin, yellowfin and skipjack tuna, which usually go there during the colder months of the year's second semester.
BFAR Director Malcolm Sarmiento said these fishing ports will be put in Casiguran, Aurora; Infanta, Quezon; Tacloban City in Leyte; and Surigao City in Surigao del Norte.
He said these chosen sites for the four fishing ports share two common traits: their geographic location facing the Pacific Ocean and their proximity to existing airports.
Sarmiento said the facilities that will be built in these areas will be patterned after the fishing port in Davao City -it has piers, refrigeration facilities, ice plants and processing plants-to enable fishers to unload their catch, process them and export their products to whatever markets because of their nearness to airports.
Although the three fisheries subsectors-commercial, municipal and aquaculture-continued to post positive growth figures this year, these agriculture officials said during the Senate subcommittee hearing that the commercial subsector did not expand as much as did in the past because the steep fuel costs has discouraged fishing vessels from going out to sea as frequently as they used to do.
"So if we are to sustain the growth of Philippine fisheries, we have to increasingly go into municipal fisheries and aquaculture and at the same revitalize commercial fisheries by opening up ports in the Pacific side," Yap said.