Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Extension of Access to High Seas Tuna Fishing Ground Sought by PH

The Philippines is one of the top Tuna producing countries in the world with 1.6 million people whose livelihood is dependent on the industry. Tuna remains the top export in the Philippine fishing industry sector contributing to 1.6% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

Regulations in fishing for tuna in the high seas is monitored by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) to ensure continued economic fishing activities.

The access to fishing for tuna in high seas pocket – 1 was granted to the Philippines in 2013 and will expire this year. The rights granted was for 5 years.

The Philippines is now negotiating for an extension to access the high seas pocket- 1. “We are negotiating continued access to high seas pocket 1 and the current terms and conditions of the existing WCPFC conservation and management measures on tropical tunas,” Agriculture Undersecretary and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources national director Eduardo Gongona said. 

“We want at least five years. We have to generate income, employment, and economic activities. We would like to continue that situation and we will negotiate that with the commission,” the Usec added.

“We are committed to our tuna catch where 75 percent of that goes to export and 25 percent are processed here and all of these linkages mean income and employment for the Philippines,” Gongona disclosed.

The high seas pocket – 1 was opened in 2011 after a 2-year ban on tuna fishing in all 4 high seas – pockets due to the declining tuna population. The ban’s objective was to make the tuna population recover and then implement regulations so as to assure sustainability.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations cited that markets for tuna products continue to increase based on the growth of consumption in new regions of the world and the dissemination of sushi as a global dietary trend.

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