GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Local tuna catch has risen during the first half this year but overall fish landings dropped by 11 percent, according to the data from the Philippine Fishport Development Authority office here.
The decline in the overall fish landing at the fishport complex in Tambler was triggered by a 42 percent decline in frozen tuna imports from January to June this year over the same period last year.
Frozen tuna imports was anemic at 51,273,208 metric tons (MT) during the first half this year compared to 72,875,010 MT over the same period last year, or a drop of 21,600 MT.
The drop in frozen tuna erased the 23 percent spike in local fish catch during the same period.
Total local catch went up from 42,064 MT from January to June 2015 to 52,299 MT in the first half this year, bringing the overall fish landing at 103,572 MT for the period, down from last year’s record 114,939 MT catch.
General Santos City fishport manager in Luisito-Romeo Correa, speaking through his spokesperson said the decline is attributed to the low demand of tuna canneries for frozen raw materials.
The decline in imports also brought the percentage of frozen tuna landings to 49.5, a significant drop from last year’s figure of 63.4 percent of total fish landings at the fishing port complex.
But Correa said he expects tuna fish landings to pick up in the second half.
“The vessel arrivals and unloading of frozen tuna have already picked up in June,” he said in a text message.
Frozen tuna imports last month (June) was at 13,979 metric tons, 27 percent of the total for the first semester of this so far.
An industry source who declined to be named said they are looking closely to the current situation and development in the European Union following the exit of United Kingdom.
The source also added that buyers still have full inventory but they expect the demand to increase I the second of this year.
Another development the local tuna industry is keeping an eye on is the landings in Thailand, the country’s main rival in canned tuna production.
“There is a major shift in brands in the EU. More and more Bangkok giants (Thailand canneries) are buying brands to add to their already dominance in world canned tuna production,” the source further added.
More than 85 percent of fish landings in General Santos City are tuna and tuna-like species of which almost 65 percent goes to canned tuna production.
Frozen tuna imports are exclusively for canned tuna processing.