The Philippines commercial fishing industry has been under scrutiny since Greenpeace recently caught its fishing boats at the brink of laundering tuna in the Pacific. Since then, the country's Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources has announced a program to collect more accurate data on its tuna catch.
The program is part of an effort to ensure the survival of the huge tuna processing industry in General Santos City as the tuna population in the surrounding water shrinks. The move also is in response to pressure from the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission that requires all member countries to report, in detail, the amount of tuna caught from the western and central Pacific Ocean.
Benjamin F.S. Tabios Jr., assistant director of the bureau, explained that the agency invited tuna fishermen to a briefing on the tuna statistics last week.
National Fisheries Research and Development Institutes distributed log sheets to all fishing boats to be submitted after each fishing trip. Log sheets include detailed information on the catch, such as the amount of catch in volume and weight, species of tuna caught, time and fishing location as well as unloading station.
Two countries closely monitored by the Commission are the Philippines and Indonesia, which between them catch more than 25 percent of the total tuna harvested in the West and Central Pacific Ocean annually.