February 13, 2009

Philippines’ tuna production down

Global climate change and world oil market trends are hurting tuna fishermen in the Philippines, experts say.

In General Santos City, which is considered the country's Tuna Capital, fishermen say their catches are decreasing because of global warming and oil price disturbances, Xinhua, China's state-run news agency, reported Friday.

Last year, the local tuna industry saw a slide of 22 percent in its production. Three years ago, the Philippines' tuna production ranked the fourth in the world, reaching 500,000 tons, but in 2008 it ranked seventh.

The Sulu Sea waters have been the traditional fishing area, especially for tuna, but fishermen now have to venture farther out to sea to catch the fish.

Most of our fishermen catch their fish in the waters of Indonesia, said Miguel Lamberte, a port manager of the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority in General Santos.

Noel Barut, deputy executive director of Manila's Fisheries Research Development Institute, said he blames global warming for decreased tuna catches in the Philippines.

The surge of oil prices last year was another reason for production losses, Lamberte said.

Our fishing industry is fuel intensive, he said. Our fishermen are spending about $3,850 to $9,600 per trip in their oil expenses.