Press Releases

Salceda to BFAR: Focus on aquaculture for food security; ‘Blue economy’ is ‘most potent’ area of the economy

February 7th, 2023

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) told Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Director Demosthenes Escoto during today’s meeting of the House Committee on Aquatic Resources and Fisheries that the agency should focus more on aquaculture development as a way to ensure the country’s fish supply.

Salceda said that as long as the country remains reliant on captured fish, which can be highly variable, for its supply, it will remain dependent on imports and fish smuggling.

“You can’t kill smuggling if you can’t address domestic shortage. You need to produce enough food to totally curb smuggling. And for fisheries, the only path is aquaculture.”

Salceda pointed to figures suggesting that the Philippines is among the few large countries that depends nearly as much on captured fish as it does on aquaculture. Salceda emphasized that “China already relies on aquaculture for 78% of its fish, despite our West Philippine Sea concerns.”

Salceda also cited a Food and Agriculture Organization report “The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2020” which states that “the percentage of fish stocks that are within biologically sustainable levels have decreased from 90 percent in 1974 to 65.8 percent in 2017.”

“That means that the world’s oceans, at some point, could begin failing to produce enough fish for the world’s needs. So we really need to do aquaculture and mariculture.”

Salceda told Escoto that the BFAR should invest not only in legislated hatcheries, but “complete the value chain” of aquaculture, through nurseries, research and investments on cheaper fish feed, logistics, processing, and marketing.

“We have about 54 legislated hatcheries, 9 of which have been completed. But the hatchery won’t so much if the value-chain isn’t complete. So, we need a more holistic approach to aquaculture – including the vertical and horizontal linkages.”

Blue economy is “most potent” sector

Salceda also prodded the BFAR to take a more active role in promoting the so-called “Blue Economy.”

“In the Pagtanaw 2050, a guiding vision crafted by some of the country’s leading scientists, the most potent recommendation is the development of the Blue Economy – or our maritime economy. BFAR is at the heart of that economy.”

“BFAR has a critical role in science-based development of that economy. For example, fisheries contribute just 2% of the pollution in Laguna de Bay. So, to protect the lake, what you would do is reduce flow of waste to the lake, not close down fisheries. BFAR has a key role in those decisions.”

Other Press Releases
Statement on the pronouncements against the Public Service Act amendments (RA 11659)
Read More
Statement on the February 2024 jobs report
Read More
Statement on the March 2024 inflation figures
Read More
The problem of access to Senior Citizen healthcare is structural, but it should be addressed alongside other issues with Senior Citizen welfare.
Read More