Government urged to impose 100,000 MT cap on ‘galunggong’ imports


A food security group has called on the government to limit the possible galunggong importation for this year to just 100,000 metric tons (MT), arguing that exceeding that level could greatly impact local production.

Tugon Kabuhayan claimed it has received information that the volume of possible galunggong importation for wet market sale this year may reach as much as 200,000 MT.  The volume, the group pointed out, is “concerning” since it may become the “biggest” galunggong importation of the country for wet market purposes.

“We consulted some fishing industries and they are saying that 100,000 MT is enough to cover whatever shortfall we will have. [We support] 100,000 MT,” the group said in a virtual news briefing on Monday.

Discussions regarding the possible importation of galunggong during this year’s closed fishing season started as early as last month. However it was only publicized last week following a statement from the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda). The closed fishing season runs from October until March of next year.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua earlier said the government would be “proactive” in ensuring fish prices do not rise in the upcoming months by allowing importation for wet market sale.

The proposed importation was confirmed afterwards by Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar but he and his officials remained mum on the possible volume of imports pending resolution of discussions about the matter.

“No specific [import] volume yet. Stakeholders’ consultation is ongoing. The volume will be determined based on local production and gaps as may be identified through consultation and technical study,” Agriculture Undersecretary for Fisheries Cheryl Marie Natividad-Caballero told the BusinessMirror.

Tugon Kabuhayan also proposed that the imports must arrive only during November so as not to coincide and impact local aquaculture harvest that is expected to peak in December until January of next year.

“Dumping imported fish into the market at this time of year is likely to hurt not only the fishing sector but the country’s aquaculture industry as well,” the group said.

“Logically, it is the first quarter of each year where production is lowest, but data shows that there is a significant increase by the second quarter,” it added.

The BusinessMirror first broke the story that the country is preparing to import fish to plug supply gaps as the fishing season comes to a close. (Related story:

In recent years, the government has been allowing the importation of galunggong for wet market sale to temper any possible retail price increases during the closed fishing season.

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