By Allen Estabillo
GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- Tuna industry players are pushing for the adoption of more technologies to further improve their operations and help promote the proper conservation and management of tuna and other critical marine resources.
Joaquin Lu, president of the Socsksargen Federation of Fishing and Allied Industries, Inc. (SFFAII), said Tuesday the move will be the main focus of the 21st National Tuna Congress slated on Sept. 4 to 6 at the SM Mall Trade Halls here.
Lu said around 700 domestic and foreign tuna industry stakeholders, officials and representatives of various government agencies as well as non-government groups are expected to join the gathering.
Anchored on the theme “The Tuna Industry: Embracing Technologies and Sustainable Strategies,” he said the congress aims to promote sustainability through the use of technologies.
Lu said maintained that the sustainability of tuna resources can only be achieved if conservation and management measures are dutifully observed.
International and regional agreements calling for the preservation of species and recovery plans should also be harmonized, he said.
“Sustainability means no overfishing. It means that we should promote an environment for tuna and tuna-like species to spawn and propagate for another season of catch. The intention is not to deplete our resources,” he said in a press conference.
Lu hopes the tuna industry would continuously upgrade its systems and processes “to achieve full efficiency while being ocean-friendly.”
He said SFFAII, an umbrella organization of seven associations involving over 100 companies, has been integrating various technologies.
These include the Electronic Catch Documentation and Traceability System or eCDTS, which is being implemented in collaboration with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and the United States Agency for International Development’s Oceans and Fisheries Partnership.
“It is our hope that we can harmonize technology and sustainability for the fishing industry to support the government’s goal to establish a sustainable, managed and equitably-allocated tuna fishery by 2026 as well as promote responsible fishing practices and trade of tuna products,” Lu said.
Organizers said the three-day event will tackle electronic monitoring, surveillance and control system; catch documentation and traceability technology solutions; emerging technologies for processors; and commodity, market and stock assessment.
Dubbed the “Tuna Capital of the Philippines,” the city hosts six of the country’s eight tuna canneries.
The industry, which generated export receipts of around PHP22 billion in 2018, directly employs some 27,290 people and provides livelihoods to 109,160 others through various secondary activities. (PNA)