THE fisheries sector needs more cold storage and improved supply chains to survive the adverse effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, an advocacy group said.
In a virtual briefing Monday, Tugon Kabuhayan convenor Asis G. Perez said ice plants are critical to help fishing communities preserve their catch and cut down on waste.
“Unlike rice which you can store, fishery products need refrigeration and good cold storage facilities. Around 1.5 kilograms of ice is required to properly store one kilogram of fish,” Mr. Perez said.
Mr. Perez, a former Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources National Director, said the government should also protect fishing grounds to help fishing communities that depend on wild catch.
He added that enforcing closed seasons will let fish populations recuperate during their spawning period.
Mr. Perez also encouraged more domestic consumption of tuna and salmon due to the disruption of supply chains, particularly those meant for export, as a result of the pandemic.
Mr. Perez said fisheries exports, particularly high-end products, are transported via plane and many must be delivered within 48 hours from harvest to preserve quality, adding that the supply chain disruptions over the past months brought the price of tuna to P140 to P150 per kilogram from P200.
He said that since transportation has become irregular due to the pandemic, a viable solution is to increase domestic consumption.
“Some of the country’s fisheries exports are sent to Japan and Europe. Since the supply route is affected by the pandemic, we urge stronger local consumption of fisheries produce,” Mr. Perez said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave