Sep 012013

MANILA, Philippines –  Major players and stakeholders in the tuna industry will gather once more during the 15th National Tuna Congress and Trade Exhibit to be held from Sept. 6 to 7, at the SM City Trade Hall in Gen. Santos City.

The tuna industry players and stakeholders are set to call on government for policies governing the tuna industry.

Organized by the Socsksargen Federation of Fishing and Allied Industries, Inc. (SFFAII), the gathering is expected to pass 12 resolutions pertaining  to vital government reforms to make the tuna sector more resilient.

With the theme “Celebrating 15 Years of Advocacy, Partnership and Collaboration,” the annual confab will draw delegates and resource persons from Palau, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Solomon Islands, Japan, the United States, Italy and Taiwan.

Tuna Congress chairman Joaquin Lu said that among the top resolutions the congress would pass is for the creation of a Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DFAR) which has been a recurring clamor of the fishing industry for the past four NTCs.

Lu, a leading player in the local tuna industry, said there is a need to give priority to the fishery sector to ensure the nurture of the country’s archipelagic waters in light of the depletion of the resources of the sea. 

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He noted that the country could leverage better in international ministerial conferences if it is represented by a Cabinet secretary, and not just a bureau director.

The Senate and the House of Representatives have expressed their support for the creation of the DFAR, but were unable to pass the bill before it adjourned for the 2013 midterm elections.

The Tuna Congress would also request the Department of Transportation and Communications to expedite the issuance of the implementing rules and regulations of the Handline Fishing Law to help develop the handline fishing industry. 

Lu said the IRR has become more important now that the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission has granted access to Philippine fishing vessels at Pocket 1 of the world’s fishing grounds under a special management arrangement.

In line with this, the tuna players would also call on President Aquino for the creation of a Philippine Committee for Advancement of Highly Migratory Fisheries to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of highly migratory fish stocks.

NTC delegates would also press for the rationalization of the Customs and Tariff Code or the Cabotage Law to reduce freight costs, and improve efficiency of passenger and cargo services.

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