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What's in store for RP bangus industry?

PHILIPPINES - Sleek and silvery, beloved because of its mild, sweet flesh, and its melt-in the-mouth belly fat, bangus or milk fish is a favorite Philippine fish, not to mention that is also the country's national fish.

Today, bangus is making waves in such countries as United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong where Filipinos are either working or living.

The Philippines is one of the top bangus producers in the world, along with Indonesia and Taiwan. "Until recently, the country has contributed around 55 percent share of the world bangus production," reports the Laguna-based Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development (PCAMRD).

Bangus is one of the most important fishes raised by Filipinos. Because of its adaptability to aquaculture, bangus is widely cultured in brackishwater fishponds, fishpens and recently in marine cages. Data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) of the Department of Agriculture on bangus production by sector showed an increasing trend from the aquaculture sector: from 210,882 metric tons in 1990 to 360,018 metric tons in 2004.

On the other hand, bangus production in the municipal sector showed decreasing trends: from 2,869 metric tons in 1990 to 438 metric tons in 2001. In 1995, the municipal sector contributed 7,466 metric tons of the total production of 158,615 metric tons harvested that year.

In the commercial sector, bangus production was posted at 6 metric tons in 1990 and went up to 222 metric tons in 1997 but went down to 5 metric tons in 2001 (a trend that started in 1999).

PCAMRD reported that bangus production is expected to ascend, based on current trends, to 382,000 metric tons in 2008 and 451,000 metric tons in 2010 (as assumed at 11 percent annual growth).

As President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said during the First Bangus National Congress, the country is envisioned to reach 10 major markets/countries with exports volume of 15,000 metric tons "in five years time."

The Philippines exports bangus in frozen, canned, dried, smoked or marinated forms. Bangus in frozen form is exported in 30 countries. Those in canned form are sent to 23 countries and dried or smoked bangus are sold in 17 countries. The United States, Saudi Arabia and Guam are major export markets for specific product forms.

Source: Sun Star

the Fish Site Editor

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