Canned sardines shortfall seen

ZAMBOANGA CITY — The city’s fishing and canned sardines association has deeply expressed apprehension that the supply of canned sardines will have a shortfall in the next three months due to the onset of the off-fishing season starting in December.

Southern Philippines Fishing Association Inc., president Engr. Jaydrick Johnson A. Yap said that the 21 fishing companies in this city would go on a fishing holiday starting 1 December to 28 February next year.

Yap also cited the fishing companies’ failure to supply enough “tamban fish” to the 11 canned sardines factories in this city during the nine-month of sardine production — from March to November — as the main reason for the shortfall.

He added that the high cost of fuel and the prohibition of fishing inside the territorial waters of a municipality or city in the archipelago as the other reasons for the fishing group’s failure to supply enough fish to the canneries in this city.

Because of these reasons, Yap disclosed that canneries in this city have failed to produce a sufficient supply of canned sardines to meet the demand for the product during the three-month off-fishing season.

The city has 11 canneries producing at least 160 million canned sardines a month to meet the monthly demand of the Filipino people nationwide.

Yap said that in the previous years, sardine factories in this city are producing 20 percent over and on top of their production monthly to sustain the demand for sardines during the closing of the fishing month from December to February.

About 70 percent of the fishing and canneries’ operation depends on diesel fuel. The two groups lamented that they do not receive any fuel subsidy from the government like in other countries.

“Since the government failed to adopt an immediate solution to the problem, especially in the price of diesel, we are sometimes operating at a lost,” Yap said. “We asked for a subsidy from the government in our fuel purchase, but it was not acted upon to date.”

Yap said that the factories are also facing problems with the stability of electricity and water supply in this city, which had also affected the production of sardines during the nine months of production.

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