Im­prov­ing the sup­ply chain of sar­dines in the coun­try

Agriculture - - Contents -

THE WEST­ERN MIN­DANAO AGRI­CUL­TURE, Aquatic and Nat­u­ral Re­sources Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Con­sor­tium (WESMAARRDEC) ban­nered one of its most no­table achieve­ments for the sar­dine in­dus­try. In part­ner­ship with its mem­ber agen­cies, this project can sup­port the goal of im­prov­ing the sup­ply chain of sar­dines in se­lected re­gions of the coun­try. The ef­fort pri­mar­ily ad­dresses the de­cline in sar­dine pro­duc­tion, cou­pled with over­fish­ing, which may jeop­ar­dize the in­dus­try’s nu­mer­ous ben­e­fi­cia­ries, not only in the Zam­boanga penin­sula but also in the whole coun­try.

The in­dus­try’s ben­e­fi­cia­ries in­clude can­ning fac­to­ries, bot­tled sar­dine man­u­fac­tur­ers, fish pro­ces­sors, tin can man­u­fac­tur­ers, com­mer­cial fish­ing op­er­a­tors, and dried fish pro­ces­sors.

Re­spond­ing to this con­cern, the De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture (DA) and the De­part­ment of the In­te­rior and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment (DILG) im­ple­mented closed sea­son for sar­dine fish­ing through a joint ad­min­is­tra­tive cir­cu­lar. The cir­cu­lar pro­hib­ited the catch­ing of sar­dines in the con­ser­va­tion area (East Sulu Sea, Basi­lan Strait, and Sibuguey Bay) for three months, from De­cem­ber 1 to March 1 for three years (2011-2014).

The closed sea­son for sar­dines is a project com­po­nent of the Sulu-Celebes Sea Sus­tain­able Fish­eries Man­age­ment Project (SCS-SFMP) of the DA-Bu­reau of Fish­eries and Aquatic Re­sources/Na­tional Fish­eries Re­search and De­vel­op­ment In­sti­tute (DA-BFAR/NFRDI), funded by the United Na­tions De­vel­op­ment Pro­gram (UNDP).

To pro­vide science-based in­for­ma­tion to val­i­date the pol­icy on closed sea­son for sar­dines, the Philip­pine Coun­cil for Agri­cul­ture, Aquatic and Nat­u­ral Re­sources Re­search and De­vel­op­ment of the De­part­ment of Science and Tech­nol­ogy (PCAARRD-DOST) funded a pro­gram on the de­vel­op­ment of tools for manag­ing the sar­dine fish­eries.

The three-month closed sea­son for sar­dines re­sulted in an in­crease in the pro­duc­tion of sar­dines in the study area. The study also recorded a 30 per­cent in­crease in sar­dine pro­duc­tion in 2012. An in­crease was also noted in the rel­a­tive num­ber of spawn­ers, dis­ap­pear­ance of small sar­dines, and ap­pear­ance of big­ger ones in the landed catch.

With the gains of the closed sea­son, the Bu­reau of Fish­eries and Aquatic Re­sources, a WESMAARRDEC-mem­ber agency, ex­tended its im­ple­men­ta­tion for an­other three years be­gin­ning 2014 sub­ject to con­tin­u­ous re­search and peer re­view by ex­perts to de­ter­mine the best man­age­ment strat­egy that would en­sure the sus­tain­abil­ity and con­ser­va­tion of sar­dines.

In 2011, PCAARRD, with the sup­port of the UP Marine Science In­sti­tute (MSI) and in co­op­er­a­tion with UP Visayas (UPV) and Min­danao State Univer­si­tyNaawan (MSU-Naawan) im­ple­mented a pro­gram for the de­vel­op­ment of ro­bust tools for the sar­dine in­dus­try us­ing satel­lite and landed catch data un­der its In­dus­try Strate­gic S&T Pro­gram (ISP). The DOST-PCAARRD funded five projects un­der this ini­tia­tive.

The first project cap­tured the dy­namic link­ages be­tween small pelagic and pri­mary pro­duc­tion through satel­lite images and mod­els for better re­source man­age­ment in the Bo­hol Sea and the Zam­boanga Penin­sula.

The other projects tack­led how to sus­tain the sar­dine fish­ery in­dus­try through a better un­der­stand­ing of the time and space dy­nam­ics af­fect­ing sar­dines in the Zam­boanga Penin­sula and Bo­hol Sea Sys­tem, early life stage mor­tal­ity and recruitment, as­sess­ment of the sar­dine fish­eries in the wa­ters of Tawi-Tawi, and molec­u­lar tech­nol­ogy-based as­sess­ment of the sus­tain­abil­ity of sar­dine fish­eries.

The pro­gram is ex­pected to re­duce the de­ple­tion of the stock and the de­cline of sar­dine pro­duc­tion in the coun­try while pro­vid­ing science-based in­puts to poli­cies on the con­ser­va­tion and man­age­ment of the sar­dine fish­eries.

Con­sis­tent with its com­mit­ment of pro­vid­ing “science based know-how and tools that en­able the agri­cul­ture sec­tor to raise pro­duc­tiv­ity to world class stan­dards,” PCAARRD is also cur­rently sup­port­ing sar­dine sup­ply chain and im­pact as­sess­ment of the closed sea­son for sar­dine fish­eries.

Lo­cally known as tam­ban, sar­dines can pro­vide a cheap source of pro­tein-rich food for Filipinos.

A boun­ti­ful catch of sar­dines awaits pro­cess­ing and dis­posal at one of the land­ing sites in the coun­try.

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