During the opening of the Trade Exhibit, DA-BFAR National Director Atty. Demosthenes R. Escoto delivered a message of support highlighting the importance of the country’s tuna fisheries amid challenges and changes in nature such as rising sea temperatures, exacerbated by climate change, among many other industry concerns. He also shared the various new and continuing initiatives of the DA-BFAR for the Tuna Industry such as the continuous implementation of the National Tuna Management Plan and the reconstitution of the BFAR Technical Working Group on Tuna Fisheries.
DA Undersecretary for Fisheries Drusila Esther E. Bayate opened the Congress Plenary as the Keynote Speaker. In her message, she expressed her utmost support for the Tuna Industry and its rich potential.
“With unwavering determination, we have elevated the Philippines to the ranks of the world’s leading tuna producers. Last year’s impressive production of over 475,000 metric tons speaks to our diligence and the richness of our marine biodiversity — a remarkable achievement for a country of our size. At sa kabila ng liit natin, nakakapag-export pa tayo. More than 107,000 metric tons of tuna were exported last year. Nakaka-proud talagang maging Pilipino.”
She underscored that despite the challenges, the tuna industry successfully adapts. She shared the current initiatives of the Department of Agriculture through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in further strengthening the tuna industry, such as the establishment of the 12 Fisheries Management Areas (FMA), the approval of three new Fisheries Administrative Orders related to tuna fisheries management, the Philippine Fisheries and Coastal Resiliency (FishCoRe) Project, and the National MLambaklad and Payao Program, among other continuing efforts.
The Congress Plenary covered topics on cooperation and partnerships on tuna fisheries, tuna catch estimation initiatives, and adaptive strategies by the Tuna Industry.