GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Total volume of fish catch in General Santos in November went down slightly compared to October, according to the data released by the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority (PFDA) here.
But overall catch for 2014 has already exceeded last year’s total landings.
With the December catch still to be added, the 180,035.54 metric ton partial total fish landed at the General Santos City Fishing Port Complex this year has already exceeded the 2013 total catch of 167,578.75 metric tons.
More than 80 percent of total fish landings in General Santos City are yellow-fin tuna and tuna-like species.
A total of 15,363.81 metric tons of yellowfin tuna and tuna-like specie were landed at the General Santos City Fishing Port Complex, down from the October total catch of 16,807.44 metric tons.
Counting all fish species, the total fish landing for the month of November also went down to 16,618.29 metric tons from 18,139.17 tons.
Frozen tuna continue to grow as 59.4 percent of the total landings came from foreign as well as Manila-based suppliers.
Foreign vessels unloaded a total of 8,646.39 metric tons at the General Santos City fish port complex.
The remaining 480.4 tons came from Manila-based frozen tuna suppliers.
The Pocket 1 High Seas are closed to tuna fishing every August and September of the year.
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources director Asis Perez had earlier said Philippine tuna catch will likely increase as more Filipino fishing boats have already returned to the Pocket I High Seas following the 2012 tragedy where more than 372 Filipinos were caught in the eye of Super Typhoon Pablo (Bopha).
Of the 372 Filipino fishermen from General Santos city who were caught in a perfect storm in the high seas ion December 2012, only 18 bodies were recovered.
The rest remain missing and are presumed dead by now.
General Santos is acknowledged as the Tuna Capital of the Philippines.
Six of the country’s 7 operating tuna canning plants are located in the city with over 20,000 workers directly employed by the industry.
Over the last 5 years, total volume of tuna catch has been on the rise following a steep decline in tuna catches in the early 2000s.
This prompted the WCPFC to institute measures to arrest the decline of stocks in the tuna-rich fishing grounds of western and central Pacific Ocean.
Among the measures are 3-month ban on FAD fishing in 2 pockets of high seas in the Pacific Ocean and strict vessel monitoring.
The Philippines was granted exemption in Pocket 1 High Seas in 2011 and started sending catching vessels to the area before Pablo struck in 2012.
Filipino tuna fishing operators resumed operating in the area last year.