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Department of Agriculture chief extends issuance of import permits for galunggong

MANILA, Philippines — Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. has extended the issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary import clearance (SPSIC) for the importation of galunggong (round scad) and other fish until Dec. 10, as only 14,637 metric tons of the 35,000 MT authorized volume have arrived.

Laurel issued Special Order 1451 giving importers eight more days to file SPSIC to be able to avail themselves of the Certificate of Necessity to Import on the importation of 35,000 metric tons of frozen round scad, bigeye scad, mackerel, bonito and moonfish.

“The period of issuance of the second tranche of the SPSICs under the CNI 35,000 metric tons 2023 shall be extended until Dec. 10, 2023,” Laurel said in issuing SO 1451.

Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) spokesman Nazario Briguera earlier told The STAR that at least 14,637 MT of imported fish arrived in the country amid the closed fishing season.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has allowed the importation of at least 35,000 MT of fish to prevent shortage in the supply during the fishing ban in the Visayan Sea and Zamboanga Peninsula from Nov. 15, 2023 to Feb. 15, 2024.

The volume of fish imports this year was 29 percent more compared to the 25,000 MT allowed by the DA in 2022 amid the expected drop in the fisheries production this year.

Laurel has issued SO 1406 authorizing BFAR national director Demosthenes Escoto to approve and sign all SPSICs that will be issued under the Certificate of Necessity to Import the remaining 35,0000 MT of frozen round scad, bigeye scad, mackerel, bonito and moonfish.

BFAR has issued Bureau Administrative Circular No. 255 on the three-month pause in sardines fishing activities in the Zamboanga peninsula.

The closed fishing ban covers East Sulu, Basilan Strait and Sibugay Bay.

According to BFAR, the adjustment of the implementation of the previous duration of closed-fishing season from Dec. 1 to March 1 was based on the result of a study conducted by BFAR’s National Stock Assessment Program and the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute in Region 9, which shows that the spawning period of mature sardines peaks during the months of October until