COTABATO CITY—BARMM Government is eyeing to venture into the tuna fishing industry in the region as it is believed to be a catalyst for economic growth.
This came after the recently held 23rd National Tuna Congress on Aug. 31 to Sept 1, in General Santos City, where participants included the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR).
“As MAFAR envisioned to establish a fisheries industry including tuna as a driver for economic growth in BARMM, it is one of the valuable commodities in both domestic and international markets,” Pendatun Patarasa, BARMM’s agriculture director-general for fishery services, said.
Patarasa also highlighted the main objective of attending the Tuna Congress, which was to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges, opportunities, and innovations within the tuna industry.
General Santos City is known as the tuna capital of the country because of its close proximity to the traditional tuna fishing areas.
He reiterated how this forum brings benefits to the Bangsamoro region, saying, “It was an opportunity for the BARMM as fisheries rich region to get involved with stakeholders from the fishing, processing, trading, and allied sectors of the tuna industry.”
During the forum, it was noted that BARMM made a substantial contribution to the tuna industry in the Philippines, ranking as the top fish-producing region in the country in 2022.
Accordingly, the tuna species abundant in the region include Frigate, Yellowfin, and Eastern Little Tuna.
“It has, likewise, provided an opportunity to network with industry key players, producers, processors, traders, exporters, researchers, regulators, and policymakers and to participate in the discussions,” Patarasa said.
Meanwhile, Macmod Mamalangkap and Mohamadtaha Pendaliday, both directors for MAFAR’s fisheries operation and research, believe that the insights gained from the congress will aid the Ministry in reviewing plans and programs for the future promotion of tuna fishing and the industry in the Bangsamoro region.
National officials from the Department of Agriculture (DA), including Undersecretary for Fisheries Drusila Esther Bayate, and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) National Director Atty. Demosthenes Escoto, also attended the forum. (Kasan Usop, Jr./BIO with reports from MAFAR)