Higher fish output pushed

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    The country will need to increase fish production by 50,000 metric tons (MT) annually until 2031 to meet projected demand from a growing population.

    Asis Perez, convenor of Tugon Kabuhayan (TK), said the country’s population of 111,047,000 is estimated to consume around 4.086 million MT of fish this year.

    Perez said based on current projections where the population will balloon to 125,015,000 by 2031, Filipinos will eat 4.6 million MT of fish that year.

    “Since our natural bodies of water are showing signs of overfishing… (the) additional 500,000 MT of fish, will be provided by aquaculture,” Perez said in a virtual briefing yesterday.

    Norberto Chingcuangco, co-convenor of TK, said if the additional 50,000 MT of fish annually is achieved, the Philippines would be able to export.

    But Chingcuangco said government needs to strictly enforce policies that will” keep our waters clean and assist us in fast tracking the permitting process.”

    TK said the proposal of the National Economic and Development Authority to ease the importation of fish will be “counter-productive.”

    “The problem of producers is how to sell their products. It’s not a question of availability but the question of logistics because of the pandemic,” Perez said.

    The group cited that the government can instead directly source their products to limit traders and middlemen that contribute to higher prices.