Municipal agriculture officers in Palawan are requesting the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to augment the cyanide detection test (CDT) laboratory in the province with more chemists to avoid delays in the transactions of live fish traders.
Edgar Padul, municipal agriculture officer of Roxas municipality, said this was among the issues they raised to the BFAR during a meeting on June 27-28.
“Ito yung sentiments ng ating mga live fish traders, kaya tayo rin ay nag-request na magkaroon sila ng additional chemist kasi iisa lang ang chemist nila sa BFAR at kung sakaling wala o mag-leave ay walang substitute. Talo ang live fish industry,” he said.
Padul claimed there have been instances when the chemist was on leave or official business, and no one could substitute to do his job. This situation often frustrates the live fish traders who need to travel long distances to have their samples checked for cyanide presence.
Prior to the transport or airlifting of the live fish to Manila, local authorities require the shipper to produce the result of their live fish’ CDT.
“Dapat ay dagdagan ang chemist at ang sabi ng BFAR ay susubukan nila na e-request sa kanilang regional office. Ang PCSD (Palawan Council for Sustainable Development) ay meron naman silang machine for CDT pero ang BFAR lang ang authorize na mag-issue ng kakailanganin ng live fish traders,” he further said.
Padul explained without the CDT, local authorities will not issue an auxiliary invoice for the transport of live fish.
He explained that under Republic Act No. 7611 otherwise known as the Sustainable Environmental Plan (SEP) for Palawan Act, a more stringent process for the shipment of live fish is imposed.
Even if buyers transport the live fish via motorized boats to Mindoro province before airlifting to Manila, he said, a certification is still required to establish the origin of the shipment, hence, the need for the CDT result.