A provincial legislator is pushing for a review of existing regulating on the lobster trade in the province of Palawan.
Board Member Winston Arzaga, in a privilege speech, expressed concern on what he observed was a low buying price of juvenile lobsters. He noted that under an existing ordinance passed in 2020, juvenile lobsters are supposed to sell at P100 per piece, but observed that current prices has gone down to “as low as P30 per piece.”
“We found out that this ordinance was not being implemented and not followed. So let us review what this trading is all about,” Arzaga said in his privilege speech Tuesday.
He added that Fisheries Administrative Order no. 265 series of 2020 issued by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) which also regulates juvenile lobster trade including catching and possessing, is not being implemented.
“There is a prohibition that, catching, transporting, possessing, trading and selling of spiny lobsters less than the majority length are prescribed and prohibited. Exportation of wild sourced spiny lobsters are also prohibited,” he said.
“The only exception is when the juvenile lobsters are being collected for growing, meaning the final destination is a hatchery where they will be grown and then when these tiny lobsters are collected for purposes of research,” he added.
Going by the BFAR admin order, he said juvenile lobster collection is technically prohibited unless otherwise justified by the traders.
“We go to the BFAR as they are the primary government agency which should be implementing this and regulating the industry. But we don’t see them,” he said.
He proposed that the ordinance be reviewed and amended to give BFAR the authority to implement, being the national agency concerned and tasked to do so.
He also said they need to review the floor price which is currently pegged at P100 per piece.
“It is very difficult to put a floor price because baby lobster is essentially a commodity subject to the law of supply and demand. What we should prevent is when the traders impose their own price. That of course we cannot allow because that would be detrimental to small catchers and small time buyers,” he explained.
“What we should guard against is a controlled price because we have to remember that this business here is practically ran by three or four groups controlling all of these things. They can talk among themselves what price to offer,” he added.