Gov’t says no sardine shortage

Despite shortages in basic commodities like salt, rice, and garlic, the Department of Agriculture vowed the shortfall will not affect sardines as supply remains sufficient.

Citing consolidated data from the Philippine Statistics Authority and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the DA said the sufficiency level for sardine or tamban clocked in at 222.58 percent for the first quarter of the year and 409.06 percent for the following quarter.

Banking on these figures, the DA said the country has more than enough supply to cover the requirements for the year.

Overflowing supply

BFAR, the primary government agency mandated to manage the country’s fisheries and aquatic resources, projects the domestic annual production of sardines could reach 293,431 metric tons, 189 percent higher than the national demand of 101,367 MT.

The volume, which is entirely sourced locally, comes from commercial and municipal fishers, at 208,387 MT and 85,043 MT share, respectively.

Meanwhile, data from the National Stock Assessment Program of the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute show that sardine stock has significantly improved resulting in more sardines reaching maturity and growing at an appropriate size.

The stable supply is attributed to the effective implementation of the National Sardine Management Plan, a five-year plan which harmonizes all the policies and programs on sardines including conservation measures such as the closed fishing seasons. Since its implementation in 2020, a notable improvement in production and supply has been recorded.

Sustainable fishing

The BFAR likewise reiterates that under the Republic Act 10654 or the amended Philippine Fisheries Code, small and medium commercial fishing vessels are only allowed to operate within 10.1 to 15 kilometers from the shoreline in the municipal waters provided that the local government unit enacts a municipal ordinance allowing their operation.

“We will remain committed to increasing production and ensuring fish sufficiency through sustainable means and without compromising the ecological integrity of our aquatic and marine environment,” BFAR said in a statement.

It can be recalled that fishing groups like the Canned Sardines Association of the Philippines asked the government to open up the municipal waters to commercial fishing vessels to address the alleged looming shortage of sardines which is contrary to the existing sardine supply sufficiency data.

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