Delegates gather in Philippines to talk tuna


Neil Ray, SeafoodSource contributing editor, reporting from Bangkok

Published on
August 26, 2009

This weekend’s Tuna Festival is something of a tourist attraction for General Santos City in the Philippines. But this year the celebration takes on a more serious note as it runs concurrently with the Tuna Conference.

Marfenio Tan, president of the Socsksargen Federation of Fishing and Allied Industries (SFFAII), is welcoming 400 delegates from the Philippines, Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Solomon Islands and the United States to General Santos City.

They’re meeting to discuss the future of tuna fishing in an area covering some 1.6 billion acres of ocean. Top of the agenda is sustainability of the global tuna industry and coping with declining tuna stocks in the western and central Pacific.

Also on the agenda is the ongoing wrangle over territories. “We need to come up with mechanisms that will ensure our access to the other fishing grounds, especially of Indonesia and Micronesia, on a long-term basis,” said Tan.

Conference participants look to sign an agreement to create a consortium called the Brunei Darussalam-Malaysia-Indonesia-Philippines East Asian Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA). The the consortium’s purpose would be to discuss technology, marketing, funding and public-private partnerships.

The Philippines tuna industry is worth approximately USD 300 million (EUR 210 million) to the country’s export economy and employs 120,000 workers.

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