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Fisheries production inches up to 1.01 million metric tons in Q1 2019

BABY STEPS. Output from municipal and commercial fisheries slightly improve in the first 3 months of 2019 despite the closed fishing season taking up most of the quarter.

File photo by Zeus Llanto/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Fisheries production in the first 3 months of 2019 inched up to 1.01 million metric tons (MMT) from 1 million MMT as fish catch within and outside municipal waters increased, said the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

This is despite the closed fishing season that the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources began to impose during the tailend of 2018 and lifted in the early months of 2019.

While the Department of Agriculture previously pointed to the closed fishing season as the reason for low fisheries production in the 1st quarter of 2018, this practice is done to make sure that the fish would be able to repopulate.

The fisheries subsector was one of the better performing areas in overall farm output for the 1st quarter, along with livestock and poultry. Only the crops subsector, especially palay, posted a decline, causing total farm output to slow to 0.67%.

For this year, the PSA's preliminary data showed that fish catch from municipal waters, or the area within 15 meters to shore, went up by 5.7% to 269,464 metric tons (MT) in the 1st quarter from a year ago.

Bulk or 86.3% of municipal catch came from marine fisheries, which saw an 8% year-on-year growth to 232,434 MT. Inland municipal fisheries saw a 6.9% year-on-year decline to 37,029 MT.

Municipal fisheries took up 26.6% of the total fisheries production. 

Commercial fisheries, or fish caught beyond 15 meters from shore, saw slower growth compared to municipal catch with a 1.2% increase from a year ago to 208,977 MT.

The PSA noted better output from major species such as round scad or galunggong by 36.2% year-on-year and skipjack or gulyasan by 6.5%. Milkfish or bangus and tilapia, however, declined by 4.7% and 3.2%, respectively.

Aquaculture, despite being the only subsector which posted a decline in the 1st quarter, took the largest share of total fisheries production at 51.9%. Aquaculture harvest posted a 1.5% decline year-on-year to 526,048 MT. – Rappler.com