CLARK FREEPORT – A fisherfolk group has raised alarm over some 47 percent increase in the price of “galunggong” or round scad in local markets amid the fishing ban imposed in some parts of the country.
The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) noted yesterday “the rising price of galunggong in the local market, ranging from P220 – P250 per kilo or 47 percent higher than the regular price of P150 – P170 per kilo.”
Pamalakaya chair Fernando Hicap noted in a statement “galunggong is no longer a poor man’s fish.”
The group has proposed the lifting of the three-month ban in the harvest of galunggong which is now being implemented in Palawan province since Nov. 1.
Pamalakaya decried the fishing ban “as it does not address the scarcity of fish stocks in the sea, but only fast-track the depletion because it triggers panic fishing among the large commercial fishing vessels right before the ban which would in turn expedite its exhaustion, leaving less or worse, nothing for the small fisherfolk.”
It said that “commercial fishing vessels that enter the 15-kilometer municipal fishing waters are the ones that monopolize the catching of galunggong.”
Pamalakaya cited data from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) indicating that commercial fishers provide 17.8 percent of galunggong supply, while municipal fishers churn out only 6.2 percent.
“Constant declaration of fishing bans without considering its implications causes artificial fish shortage, and ultimately triggers unreasonable price increase in the market,” Hicap noted.
Pamalakaya warned the government “not to flood the local market with imported fish as a solution to shortage as it demanded “a moratorium on importation of aquatic and marine products that are detrimental not only to the livelihood of small fisherfolk, but also to the millions of poor consumers who depend on fish as cheap source of protein.”
“We are warning our government not to think about opening the floodgates for imported fish because it does not guarantee normalization of fish supply and market price. Rather, the country’s reliance on marine imports renders the national market and prices volatile, putting the local producers and poor consumers at the losing end,” Hicap added.