In an effort to ensure a continuous and sufficient supply of raw materials for canneries in the country, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) has been inked on Monday, October 24, between the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) and Canned Sardines Association of the Philippines (CSAP). This historic undertaking emanated from the recommendations raised by various stakeholders of the country’s sardines industry during a consultation meeting which DA-BFAR organized last month. As a result, selected registered municipal fisherfolk associations will be engaged by CSAP in order to sustain the supply of raw materials for canning, especially during the implementation of annual closed fishing seasons. “Aside from sustaining, and ultimately increasing, the supply of sardines for canneries, the MOA intends to capacitate municipal fisherfolk on proper fish handling, food safety standards, and processing technologies,” DA-BFAR Officer-in-Charge Atty. Demosthenes Escoto said during the signing ceremony. Under the agreement, the DA-BFAR, as the primary government agency mandated to manage the country’s fisheries and aquatic resources, shall provide post-harvest support and necessary equipment in identified landing sites wherein the consolidation of raw materials will take place. The Bureau is also slated to ensure that the identified fisherfolk are compliant with the government’s food safety and traceability requirements and facilitate transportation or logistics support. Over the course of this partnership, the CSAP shall ensure that its members observe fair trade in directly negotiating with selected associations derived from the identified
registered municipal fisherfolk provided by the DA-BFAR. In addition, CSAP shall ensure that its members strictly comply with the terms and conditions in the Purchase Order.
“[We] are ensuring the employment of hundreds, if not thousands, of factory workers and adjacent industries when the canneries can continue to operate during the three-month fishing ban. Productivity during the three-month fishing ban means more employment, job security, and food on the table for many families,” CSAP President Benjamin Sy said.
Multi-sector effort to improve information system towards sustainable small pelagics fishing industry
Aside from this collaboration, DA-BFAR has committed to provide assistance in the implementation and conduct of the research program titled “Attaining Sustainability in the Fisheries for Sardines and Other Small Pelagic Fish Off the Zamboanga Peninsula,” which is aimed at addressing the gaps in information needed to strengthen the management among sardines and associated small pelagic stocks off the Zamboanga Peninsula in order to ensure long term sustainability of the small pelagics fishing industry.
The partnership was formalized during the 5th National Sardines Industry Congress held in Zamboanga City on October 20 through the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement between the academe—University of the Philippines Visayas, Mindanao State
University-Iligan Institute of Technology, and Jose Rizal Memorial State University, BFAR Regional Office IX, and Southern Philippines (SOPHIL) Deep Sea Fishing Association , Inc.