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Philippine Fisheries March Updates: Catch Increase, Port Investment, and Holy Week Price Surge

Discover recent developments in the Philippine fisheries sector, including a notable rise in fish catch and substantial infrastructure investments.

Image Source: The Philippine Star

Increase in Volume of Fish Catch 

On March 25, 2024, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) reported that the country’s volume of fish caught in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) saw a significant increase of 15% from the recorded 175,784.73 metric tons (MT) in 2022 to 201,894.49 MT in 2023, despite the escalating tension with China. The increase is attributed to BFAR’s Livelihood Activities to Enhance Fisheries Yields and Economic Gains from the West Philippine Sea (LAYAG-WPS) program, wherein the agency provided fuel subsidies and various fishing equipment like fiberglass boats and post-harvest equipment to 385,000 Filipino fishermen in WPS. 

Approved Subsidy to Enhance Fish Ports 

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has approved the release of a Php 6 billion subsidy to enhance regional fish ports (RFPs) as part of the Fisheries Infrastructure Development Program. This initiative aims to improve and maintain strategically located and globally competitive fish ports. Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said that Congress had introduced changes reallocating Php 1.1 billion towards constructing, repairing, and upgrading fish ports and related facilities utilized post-fishing. These enhancements will benefit nine RFPs nationwide, particularly in Navotas, Iloilo, Zamboanga, Camaligan, Lucena, Sual, Davao, General Santos, and Bulan.

Holy Week Push Fish Prices 

On March 26, 2024, Agriculture Assistant Secretary Arnel de Mesa said that the retail price of galunggong has risen by 20% to Php 240 per kilo from Php 200 in the previous week due to increased fish demand during Holy Week. This price trend aligns with past patterns, as fish prices typically increase by 10%-20% as Filipinos shift their consumption from meat to fish during the Holy Week. Slight increases in the prices of bangus and tilapia were also expected. The Department of Agriculture (DA) assured the public that fish prices would return to normal after Holy Week. 

References: Arcalas, J.E. (2024, March 25). Fish catch in West Philippine Sea grows despite tensions with China. The Philippine Star. Retrieved March 25, 2024 from https://qa.philstar.com/business/2024/03/25/2342994/fish-catch-west-philippine-sea-grows-despite-tensions-china 

Arceo, N.M.P. (2024, March 25). P6-B subsidy released to improve PH fish ports. The Manila Times. Retrieved March 25, 2024 from https://www.manilatimes.net/2024/03/26/business/top-business/p6-b-subsidy-released-to-improve-ph-fish-ports/1938544

Cariaso, B. (2024, March 26). Galunggong retail price up 20 percent. The Philippine Star. Retrieved March 26, 2024 from https://qa.philstar.com/headlines/2024/03/26/2343301/galunggong-retail-price-20-percent

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