The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources on Tuesday said it will go after importers responsible for the "proliferation" of frozen fish in local wet markets without proper documentation.
Speaking to ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo, BFAR chief information officer Nazario Briguera said the bureau will seize imported pompano and pink salmon sold in wet markets starting December 4 to protect the local fishing industry.
"Proliferated na talaga ng frozen imported fish ang ating wet markets...ngayon lang kasi nagkaroon ng feedback sa atin. Proliferated na at ang pamahalaan ay gumawa ng hakbang para maproketahan ang ating local industry," he said.
"Pananagutin natin kung sino man ang importers na nasa likod ng ganitong practice."
In the interview, the BFAR spokesman confirmed Fisheries Administrative Order (FAO) No. 195, or the Rules and Regulations Governing Importation of Fresh/Chilled/Frozen and Fishery Aquatic Products, which will be used to "ban" imported pompano and pink salmon in wet markets was issued in 1999.
He explained BFAR had been implementing the order for a long time as a guide in importing frozen fish for institutional buyers and not the wet markets.
The Ombudsman earlier gave BFAR three days to explain the delay in the implementation of the FAO.
Briguera said disposal reports issued by importers are inaccurate, which led to the diversion of imported fish to wet markets. He added BFAR seeks to ensure that products sold in wet markets are legitimate and have proper documentation.
"These are smuggled and did not undergo proper documentation," he said.