TUGUEGARAO CITY—The Cagayan Valley regional office of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources will be imposing the ban on sale of imported fish and fishery products in local wet markets.
Officials also warned fish transporters and dealers to comply with the ban as one of the major priorities of the BFAR national leadership.
Lawyer Arsenio Bañares, BFAR’s chief of Fisheries Management Regulatory and Enforcement Division, said Fisheries Administrative Order 195 covers frozen fish products in wet markets such as imported mackerel, bonito, squid, sardines, salmon and salmon head, and pangasius or cream dory.
“The importation of these fishery products is not prohibited, but the regulation states that these should go only to institutional buyers such as canneries, restaurant chains and fish processing plants, not to wet markets,” he said.
Bañares also said the regulation aims to protect local fish producers and ensure the quality of fish in the wet markets.
“While the Order was issued way back 1999, BFAR lacked personnel to enforce the law back then,” he said.
BFAR officials have already met with the affected fisheries sector on the implementation of Republic Act 9147 or the Conservation and Protection of Wildlife Resources and their Habitats and Fisheries, and Administrative Order 233, governing trade of aquatic wildlife which are not farmed, Bañares added.
Fish transporters must secure a Local Transport Permit for the shipment of their fish and fishery products outside their respective provinces, he said.
The LTPs can be secured at BFAR Provincial Fishery Offices in Aparri, Cagayan; San Mateo, Isabela; Diffun, Quirino; and Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya as well as in its Regional Office in this city.
“Pursuant to FAO 233 and FAO 196, the Quarantine Unit of the agency will strengthen existing checkpoints and install additional, to check on the entry and exit of fish and fishery products within Cagayan Valley,” Banares said.
Dr. Milagros Morales, BFAR regional director, also said the fishery law enforcers of the agency are ready to execute the new directives.
She said the impending ban can translate to a great business opportunity for local fishermen and fish growers.
“To date we are only 42 percent fish sufficient in the region, thus there is ample demand that fish farmers and fishermen can try to satisfy,” Morales said.