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Wet-market ban on sale of imported salmon, pompano under review

PHILIPPINE STAR/ WALTER BOLLOZOS

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) is reviewing the ban on selling salmon and pompano in wet markets, a spokesman said on Thursday.

“We will revisit FAO 195 (to determine whether) we have to amend or improve (the fisheries order). We do not have a confirmation yet but we are considering a moratorium (on the sale of the fish),” Rex C. Estoperez, DA deputy spokesperson, said on Thursday.

Fisheries Administrative Order (FAO) No. 195, issued in 1999, only allows hotels, restaurants, and other companies to sell fish like salmon and pompano. The policy was intended to reduce wet-market competition from imports for fishermen.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) last week gave vendors until Dec. 3 to sell their imported pompano and salmon inventory. The BFAR said that starting Dec. 4, pompano and salmon sold in wet markets are subject to confiscation.

Mr. Estoperez said a final policy on confiscation will be announced “before Dec. 4.”

“We decided to consider a moratorium, considering the clamor of consumers, and legislators, (and review) FAO 195 and other regulations… we need to check if this policy is still suitable for us now,” he said.

“These imported fish… hurt the tilapia and bangus industry,” he added.

Separately, Mr. Estoperez said the pork supply is sufficient, which does not appear to be reflected in the market prices.

“We have enough pork, but the question is… why are prices continuing to rise,” he said, adding that the price behavior might reflect other costs such as transport and feed.

The Bureau of Animal Industry has said that it expects a minor shortage in the domestic pork supply before the holidays. — Ashley Erika O. Jose

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