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Tuna Industry

Tuna Industry

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Published by Mind of Beauty

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Published by: Mind of Beauty on May 10, 2010
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Filed underArticles,FeaturedbyAdmin| 3,109 views Fishing is a PhP50 billion industry in the Philippines, contributing about 4% of the country¶s GNP. With an annualproduction volume of 2.4 million metric tons of fish, it directly provides livelihood and employment to over onemillion Filipinos. Tuna is among the 200 or so species of fish found in the country that have high commercial value.The Philippines ranks 7th among the top tuna producing countries in the world, both in terms of fresh/frozen tunaand canned tuna.Despite this formidable ranking, the Philippines position in the international tuna industry leaves much room forimprovement. The industry continues to be vulnerable to price fluctuations in the world market, stiff competitionfrom existing and emerging tun producing country, trade discrimination in some importing countries, limitedaccess to fishing grounds, increasing costs, and operational inefficiencies within the industry. Of late, however,these has been a genuine recognition among the tuna industry players and development partners of the need tourgently address the obstacles to industry¶s growth and the industry is now taking firm steps to do just that.With the modest success of the 1st tuna Conference in General Santos City in September 1999 and a series of regional workshops and industry forums earlier this year, it has been confirmed that it is, indeed, possible to bringthe multisectoral stakeholder groups together and talk about their common concern-how to strengthen thePhilippine tuna industry and become more globally competitive.
 The tuna fishing industry had never been this promising and lucrative since its birth on this side of the earth-General Santos City. Lying at the head of the Sarangani Bay, the city has been dubbed the ³Boom Town City of theSouth,´ and considered as one of the fastest-growing cities in the Philippines.
ad it not been for its strategic geographical location and existence of other amenities needed by the fishingindustry, General Santos City could not have become South Cotabato¶s heart of commerce and trade. Boosted withthe signs of prosperity sprouting everywhere,´ business has never been better,´. With the advent of the operationof General Santos City Fish Port Complex, post-harvest technology equipment needed to prolong the shelf-life of tuna and other species of fish, are made available, thus playing a vital role for trading and other post harvestactivities.The proximity of the city to tuna-rich fishing grounds including the Moro gulf, Sulu Sea, Mindanao Sea andadjacent Celebes Sea which are known centers of tuna abundance, is great advantage. This location is evenpleased with fair weather zone which is not normally visited by devastating typhoons or seasonal adverse weatherpatterns. Another advantage is the availability of facilities like wharves, canneries and an airport. With thesecharacteristics, the city is truly an ideal base of operation for commercial tuna.The deep sea adult tuna fish catched by handline or longline ranges from 110 to 150 centimeters in size (Aprieto,1995).As early as 1970, General Santos City has been tagged as the ³Tuna Capital of the Philippines´. The total dailycatch of adult and juvenile tuna unloaded in the city can surpass that of any other fishport or even the entireunloadings of all other fish ports in the country combined (Aprieto, 1995). The daily catch is easily disposed forforeign and local buyers. The city, being the sanctuary of seven (7) tuna canning factories with an average dailycapacity of 750 MT per day and employs around 7,800 plant workers (GEM) the volume of catch on a per day basisis even insignificant as to the distribution of the market.As of September of the previous year alone, the total catch has reached a voluminous 5,031, 866 kilos where¶sashimi´ grade adult tuna comprises 35 % or about 1,774,922 kilos. The locally distributed adult tuna for localconsumption ate the largely 65% chunk and distributed to neighboring cities of Davao, Bukidnon, Cagayan de Oro,Surigao, South Cotabato and as far Japan and the U.S., skipjack for canned markets in Europe and North America. Fishing BoatsThe commercial tuna fleet is usually composed of deep sea purse seine and ring net vessels. Purse seine boatsrange from 100 to 500 gross tons, with an average of about 250 gross tons. On the other hand, the municipal tunafisheries is consist of largely of deep sea tuna fisherman catching by handline or longline the adult tuna whichrange in size from 110 to 150 centimeters (Aprieto, 1995).
Of the total volume of fish landings brought in by the commercial fisheries (669, 597.40 metric tons as reported bythe Philippine fish marketing Authority office in General Santos City), tuna species comprises about 50 to 100percent.About 45% of the tuna catch are skipjack, about 25% are yellowfin, and about 23%are frigate and bullet tuna.Around 60% of the ring net landings supplied to the local canneries, 35% is brought out of General Santos City tolocal domestic fish markets and the remaining 5 % is consumed locally.Tuna longline fishermen catch adult yellowfin and billfish deep waters as an average from 500 to 800 kilogramsper trip which lasts from one week to two weeks. The average number of boats that come known to the port on adaily average is about 25 fishing from as far as borderline of Indonesia and Palau Islands. The catch according tothe fishermen usually consists of 95% yellowfin, 3% bigeye, and 2% billfish.Yellowfin TunaThe impact of the growing tuna industry of General Santos City has been inviting in-migrants seeking employmentin any of the canning factories or sashimi-exporters for the Japan market. The rate of population growth hasnotably increased in an alarming rate of 2.64% per annum for the last 5 years. This means that the city¶spopulation increases at about 10,000 warm bodies per month. The study is based on the trend analysis on GeneralSantos City migration.Since the start of GSFPC¶s operation, unloading of tuna and tuna-like species has dramatically increased. Fishunloading started at the fishport¶s market 1 with the recorded volume of 515, 160 kgs., for the month of April1998, where majority of the catch consists of yellowfin tuna.Fish unloading dramatically increased on August 1998, when market 2 which caters to baby purseiners and mixedspecies of fish producers opened, showing an increase in total fish unloading of 118% based on the April 1998data.Apparently, another abrupt increase in tuna unloading was noted when the port¶s Market 3 accommodating largepurseiners opened on March 1999 increasing the volume by 227% compared to August 1998 data.The captured tuna and tuna-like fishes have been monitored to be delivered to 3 major destinations. These includethe canneries, the processors/exporters, and the local market catering the local consumers.
 The construction of General Santos Fish Port Complex(GSFPC) was funded by Overseas Economic CooperationFund(OECF) of Japan. GSFPC is the nation¶s second largest fish port after Navotas, and considered the mostmodern in the country today. The construction started last December 1994 and finished in March 1999.

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