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The fisheries and aquatic resources department attributes the lack of fish supplies at public markets on the northeast monsoon (amihan), not Typhoon Odette, which destroyed numerous fishing boats.

According to Eduardo Gongona, director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), the damage caused by Typhoon Odette to the fishery sector in Northern Palawan has totaled P663.65 million, affecting 24,447 fishermen, but it is not the reason why fish supply is scarce and prices are rising.

Gongona said there has been no price increase in the fishing sector since BFAR’s recent price monitoring, noting the aquaculture sector’s good productivity.

“Sa ibang bahagi naman ng bansa, limitado rin ang pagpapalaot ng mga mangingisda bunsod ng amihan. There may be some lull in the supply of fish in Palawan but we will try our best that those fish available will reach Palawan. Meantime rehabilitation and repair of boats and additional boats is being facilitated,” Gongona said.

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“Sa huling price monitoring ng BFAR, wala pa naman tayong matinding pagsirit ng presyo lalo na’t maganda naman ang produksyon ng aquaculture sector,” he added.

Odette’s destruction of many fishing boats, according to fish traders in public markets, had little to do with a lack of supplies. According to them, the amihan was exceptionally intense this time of year, owing to a northeast monsoon surge.

“Malakas ‘yong Amihan. Nagsipag tabihan ‘yong mga bangka dahil grabe daw lakas ng hangin sa laot. Mas malakas ang Amihan ngayon kumpara nakaraang taon,” Lawin Real said.

Fish importation
Gongona said that on December 30, 2021, Agriculture Secretary William Dar has approved the importation of 11,015 metric tons of frozen small pelagic fish to be sold in public markets until January 31, 2022.

The certificate of import (CNI) was under the Fisheries Administrative Order No. 259. Gongona said it will help to increase fish supplies in areas hit hard by Odette.

“Pinahihintulutan ang pag-aangkat ng frozen fish at fishery/aquatic products patungong wet market upang dugtungan ang suplay ng isda sa mga lugar na nasalanta ng kalamidad, gaya na lamang ng nagdaang Bagyong Odette,” he said.

“Ang mga isdang iiimport sa bisa ng CNI na ito ay dadalhin sa Visayas at Mindanao lamang, para sa mga biktima ng Bagyong Odette. Lahat ng SPS import clearances sa ilalim ng CNI na ito ay automatic na mageexpire sa January 31, 2022,” he added.

Relief operations
Gongona said that as of current, roughly P6 million worth of relief products and food packs comprising frozen fish, rice, sardines, clothing, and hygiene kits had been delivered by BFAR to typhoon victims in MIMAROPA, including Palawan.

In addition to food and clothing, BFAR will also distribute repair materials such as marine plywood, marine engines, copper nails, paints, and other materials for fiberglass boats, he said.

“Lulan ng mga floating assets ng DA-BFAR, nasa 6 milyon pisong halaga na ng relief goods at food packs na may lamang frozen fish, bigas, sardinas, mga damit at hygiene kits na ang ating naipamahagi sa kasalukuyan,” he said.

“Bukod sa pagkain at damit, ang ating mga barko ay may lulan ding mga repair materials gaya ng marine plywood, marine engines, copper nails, paints at materyales para sa fiberglass boats. Handa ang ating team onsite upang tumulong sa pag-aayos ng mga nasirang bangka,” he said.

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