(File photo)

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has urged local government officials in the province to make tourism and fisheries work by striving to establish Palawan as the “Galunggong Capital” of the country.

In his speech during the Calamian Environmental Law Enforcement Summit in Coron, undersecretary for fisheries and BFAR director Eduardo Gongona said that the province is producing 92 percent of galunggong (round scad) yet it is not capitalizing on it.

“Palawan produces 92 percent of galunggong production in the Philippines, yet you are not capitalizing on it. You want to be called the tourism capital of the Philippines, but I tell you there is more money in galunggong so, I advise Palaweños, better make tourism and fisheries go together,” he said.

Gongona said the Philippines is exporting high-value fish to other countries because the country is not a “high-value fish eating country”.

He said Filipinos prefer to sell their high-value fish because they “cannot afford it”.

Gongona said that in aiming for Palawan to become the tourism capital of the Philippines, it must also target to be the galunggong capital of the country. He also encouraged tourists to eat galunggong.

Gongona also claimed there is more money in galunggong than the total of what the fisheries could contribute to the country.

“Tuna contributes only less than 40 billion, where is the rest? That’s from galunggong and other high-value fish,” he said.

He said that the only way to have more fish is to catch them, however, fishing vessels have not yet modernized right now.

“Our only way to have more is to catch them and that’s the problem actually because we have not modernized our fishing vessels right now. We cannot add up fishing vessels because we are violating international law that’s because we are improving on our efforts but right now, we should be improving on our efficiency,” he said.