Fish prices, supply seen to be affected by El Nino

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 02 2016 05:30 PM

MANILA - Temperatures won't be the only ones going up with the onset of the El Nino phenomenon.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said there should be an adjustment in the prices of fresh water fish because of El Nino as well.

BFAR Director Asis Perez explained, "'Yung price kasi is let's accept it, let's anticipate some adjustment in prices for certain commodities. So I'm talking about fresh water species, tilapia and partly bangus, kasi meron din tayong bangus production sa fresh water.

"Sa Taal Lake we're producing bangus, we're producing also bangus in Laguna Lake pero ang mas malaki nating production sa fresh water ay tilapia. So ang mas tatamaan kung mayroon man ay tilapia, the rest ay 'di naman masyado maapektuhan ng El Nino."

Tuna supply may also be affected.

"Based on our 2015 data, ang pagpasok ng El Nino ay nagkaroon ng migration ng tuna towards farther areas. Naapektuhan tayo ng climatic condition kasi pag mas mainit 'yung tubig, lumalayo 'yung isda particularly tuna but that's for tuna…

"Pag medyo tumaas naman 'yung temperature…again 'yung maliliit na isda, halimbawa tamban, isang halimbawa rin 'yung galunggong, kasi pag mas mataas naman ng konti 'yung temperature, mas malakas naman ,yung growth ng algae as a result of that, nababalanse, bumababa 'yung catch ng tuna. Pero in a way, parang nakikita namin tumataas naman 'yung catch ng small pelagics, in that sense," said Perez.

"Tuna species lang kasi 'yung iba naman, hindi makakalayo dahil iba talaga confined sila dito sa Pilipinas. Halimbawa, 'yung mga galunggong, talagang dito 'yun. 'Yung mga sardinas hindi naman siya highly migratory so ang highly migratory mo 'yung tuna, they move up to the Pacific talaga, lumilipat 'yan hanggang dun sa lampas pa ng Papua New Guinea, hanggang lampas pa ng Solomons. Pagkaganun, talagang maapektuhan 'yung catch mo dahil ang hinahanap kasi ng tuna 'yung mas mababang temperature. Pag medyo mataas 'yung temperature, normally tuna will move away from the high temperature," he added.

Perez said tilapia will also be affected.

"Ang maaapektuhan talaga ng El Nino will be aquaculture kasi kailangan natin 'yung ulan, so in areas na walang tubig ulan, walang pwedeng paglanguyan 'yung tilapia and so in that sense maapektuhan tayo ng El Nino because of the severe unavailability of fresh water. In fact, when El Nino struck in the 90s, 'yung mataas talaga severe talaga 'yung El Nino, talagang bumababa 'yung production by about 40 percent sa fresh water.

"So we are anticipating that to be the effect as well and so the move now is really to put more cages in the sea kasi kung ang cages mo nasa dagat na hindi siya apektado ng kawalan ng freshwater. 'Yun naman 'yung ating parang response na hindi naman ito ngayon lang, inuumpisahan dati pa ito, itinutuluy-tuloy lang natin na mas maramihan natin 'yung cages sa ating dagat kaysa magparami tayo halimbawa ng isda sa fresh water nung panahon ng El Nino. 'Yun 'yung parang response natin," he said.

Perez, however, allayed fears of a shortage.

"As far as the market is concerned, wala pa. Although if you look at it from, say, data in the market, mas mahal ng konti isda ngayon, nagmahal ng P10 hanggang P20 pero mga isdang nagmamahal ay mga isdang galing sa dagat. Ang dahilan nun, 'di El Nino kung 'di amihan. Masyadong malalaking waves, so pag panahon na ganito, talagang ang mga mangigisda hindi naman lumalabas," he said.

Perez also said they have opened Palawan to fishing.

"We officially lifted the closed season in Palawan. About 70 percent of all the galunggong in Navotas is coming from Palawan ngayon. Binuksan na natin 'yung key fishing season sa Palawan. We are expecting na in two to three days, dadating na 'yung mga huli nilang isda at probably 'yun naman ang sasagot sa kakulangan natin ng isda, 'yung huli natin sa Palawan," he said.