DA acts on fish production decline

Local producers said Monday that the resumption of importation of processed animal proteins (PAP) and other ingredients used in aquaculture feeds will help offset the decline in fish production and help slash the market price of the commodity.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., who also heads the Department of Agriculture (DA), has approved the development of regulation of important feed ingredients like PAP.

The order of the President came after the department banned early this year imports of processed porcine or pork meal for animal feed from countries affected with African swine fever (ASF).

Citing the World Organization for Animal Health Code, the order said that the ASF virus is inactivated when meat is subjected to heat for at least 30 minutes at a minimum temperature of 70°C.

“The aquaculture sector welcomes this initiative as it has been requesting this since April of this year. The general public will stand to benefit from this decision as there will be a continuous supply of affordable protein coming from aquaculture. You can just imagine if the P120 tilapia and P170 bangus will no longer be available,” Asis Perez, convenor of Tugon Kabuhayan, told reporters.

Perez also noted that aquaculture production in the second quarter of the year already declined by 0.6 percent, partly due to the suspended importation of PAP.

According to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, about 20 percent of local aquaculture production will be adversely affected if the import ban on PAP continues.

Key production ingredient

Feedmix Specialists Inc. vice president Norbert Chingcuangco said PAP is a key, irreplaceable ingredient for the production of feeds in aquaculture, but was banned out of fear of the ASF.

“PAPs are processed at high temperatures that kill all forms of bacteria and viruses,” he added.

“Our friends from Malalag in Davao Occidental say their fish cages are 30 percent empty. That means 30 percent of fish won’t be there. The decline in fish production is not yet over. There is a rush for the needed ingredients to catch up so that fish production can also catch up.”

According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization and the DA, aquaculture produces more than sea catch. The Philippine Statistics Authority estimates fish from aquaculture is over 800,000 metric tons yearly.

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