Tuna Congress Leaders Stress Diversification Away From Tuna
The Philippines seafood industry needs to diversify away from the increasingly competitive tuna market, according to industry leaders who attended the 10th annual Tuna Congress in General Santos City recently.
The theme of this year's Tuna Congress was "Managing our Tuna Resources: Exploring Opportunities and Alternatives," which focused on managing resources and sustainability while promoting investment.
Ramon Macaraig, president of Chains of Aquaculture and Ancillary Industries in Sarangani (CHAINS), reported that the Philippines aquaculture industry has grown to $750 million, including high-value seafood such as grouper, pompano, mangrove snapper and sea bass.
Farming tuna is not yet a feasible option to substitute for wild product, added Macaraig. Nevertheless, farming other popular species would be able to sustain the fishing-dependent communities.
Another expert presenting the benefit of diversifying into aquaculture was Gil Adora, assistant director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. Stating that Mindanao is ideal for aquaculture, Adora suggested that GenSan's tuna industry should invest in ocean-based aquaculture parks that host different activities.
Adora and Macaraig also expressed their appreciation on USAID's support of the Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM) program that boosted small-scale aquaculture activities in Mindanao, providing education, training and assistance to communicate with prospective buyers and to penetrate new markets.