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The Philippines is an important producer of fish in the world, ranking 12th among the top fish-producing countries in 1999, with its total production of 2.8 million metric tons of fish, crustacean, mollusks and aquatic plants (includes seaweeds) or 2.1 percent of the total world catch of 136.8 million metric tons (FAO Yearbooook,19999). Then country is also the 3rd biggest producer of seaweeds and other aquatic plants contributing 5.8 percent 90.621 million metric tons in the world production of 10.663 million ton in 1999.

A. Role of the Fisheries Sector in the Philippine Economy

Although not a dominant player in the national economy, fisheries is nevertheless an important sector, with its contribution of (P83.3 billion) (2.3%) to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 3.643 billion at current prices in 2001. Based on constant prices, a total of P 37.8 billion (3.8%) was also contributed by the industry to the total GDP of P 987.4 billion for the same period. In addition, the fishing industry’s share to the GVA in Agriculture, Fishery and Forestry Sector of P554.4 B and P198.1B at current and constant prices were 15.0% and 19.1 % respectively, with the largest share next to agricultural crops.
With regards to employment, the fisheries sector provides direct and indirect employment to over one million people, or about 12 percent of the agriculture ,fishery and forestry sector labor force estimated at 6,589,176 person. In aquaculture, about 9.2 percent (74,537) fishfarmers are engage in different culture method ; municipals contributes 46.5 percent (374,408) and commercial fisheries,44.4 percent (357,084)

The fisheries sector is a net earner of foreign exchange for the country. In 2001, fishery exports amounted to $ US 458.8 Million (159,069 metric tons), compared to imports of only $US 75.7 Million. The major fisheries export commodities include tuna, shrimp/prawn and seaweeds, while the major imports are chilled/frozen fish and fish meal.

B. Fisheries Resources

An archipelago of some 7,100 islands, the Philippines has an extensive coastline of 17,460 km in length and about 26.6 million ha of coastal waters and 193.4 million ha of oceanic waters. The country exercises authority over 2.2 million sq km (or 220 million ha) of territorial ocean waters including its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The shelf area, or marine waters extending from the land boundary to the 200-m depth contour of the surrounding ocean floor, is estimated to cover 184,600 sq km (18.46 million ha), or 8 percent of the total ocean area. For inland resources, the country has a total of 338,000 ha swamplands, about 253,000 ha fresh and brackishwater fishponds and 250,000 ha other inland resources such as lakes, rivers and reservoirs.

C. Fisheries Production

The average annual growth rate achieved by the Philippine fisheries from 1992-2001 was 2.04 percent. Positive growths were recorded in aquaculture, 5.6 percent and commercial fisheries, 2.2 percent, but municipal fisheries declined by 1.2 percent.

With the good performance of all the fisheries sectors. fish production for 2001 reached 3,149,159 metric tons or 105% accomplishment against the targeted production of 3,000,000 metric tons for the year. Increased of 5.6 percent above the 2000 level was realized with the remarkable growth of 10.3 percent of the aquaculture sector. Commercial and municipal fisheries with a share of 31.0 and 31.8 percent to total production registered a positive growth of 3.2 percent and 2.5 percent respectively during the period.

D. Key Issues and Concerns in the Fisheries Sector

The major concern in the fisheries sector is the need to maintain a delicate balance between the requirements for increased production to contribute to food security against the need to conserve and protect the resources for long-term sustainability. Other interrelated key issues and concerns of which development and management interventions of the government should address include the following:

1. Resource Management and Environmental Issues and Concerns

Need for strong fisheries law enforcers
b. Need for useful and timely fisheries information
c. Revision of lease and licensing fees


2. Socioeconomic Issue and Concern

Poverty among municipal fisherfolks


3. Policy Issues and Concerns

Need for strong fisheries law enforcers
b. Need for useful and timely fisheries information
c. Revision of lease and licensing fees


4.Institutional Issues and Concerns

Need for institutional strengthening
b. Need for human resources development
c. Access to credit


5. Industry Issues and Concerns

b. Aquaculture productivity
c. Fishery inspection and quarantine


E. Projected Fish Requirements 2002 - 2004

The Fourth Nutrition Survey (DOST, 1993) revealed that the consumption of fish and fishery products was 36 kilograms per capita per year (kcy). Supply and Consumption of Fish and Fishery Products further shows that apparent consumption has been continuously decreasing from 29 kilograms per capita per year in 1995 to 1997 compared to 1998-2000 with average for period of 27 kcy. The decline can be attributed to the fact that population growth rate is higher than the fish production growth rate. In 1995-2000 and 1990-2000 were 2.36% and 2.34 % respectively.

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