Despite a drop in price of canned tuna exports, total receipts for the first 8 months (January to August) still went up due to increase in export volume, according to PhilExport in central Mindanao 12.
Average price per ton for Philippine canned tuna for this year is down to US$3,127.48 per ton from US$3,474.68 last year bringing the total 8-month export receipts to US$113,513,764 with still 4 months to go.
Also falling down in price are frozen whole tuna (down by US$648,65 per ton) and pouched tuna (US$1,036.50 per ton).
The drop in prices of these tuna products was however offset by a huge spike in the prices of frozen tuna exports.
Frozen tuna exports according to PhilExport in Central Mindanao, registered a receipt of US$22,081,963.57 over the increase of US$3,087.35 per ton.
Total monthly receipts from tuna exports this year is also slightly better with a average value of US$22,921,172,91 up by US$1,152,938.46 from an average of US$21,768,234.45 last year or an increase of 5.3 percent.
Total export revenues of tuna products coming from this city from January to August has already reached US$183,369,383.26.
In 2014, the overall value of tuna exports from General Santos was pegged at US$261,218,813.35, according to the records of the Bureau of Customs (BoC) here.
PhilExport Central Mindanao regional director Ismael Salih Jr said based on data supplied by the BoC in General Santos City, total volume of tuna exports for the first 8 months has already reached 60,125.38 metric tons for a monthly average of 7,515.67.
Average monthly tuna export volume in 2014 was only at 6,784.18 metric tons or an increase of 731.49 every month.
Tuna industry sources in the city said despite a 24 percent drop in local tuna catch, local tuna producers were still able to increase the volume of tuna exports largely due to the increase in frozen tuna imports.
Frozen tuna imports for the first 6 months of 2015 already reached 72,875.01 metric tons, up from just 48,464.62 MT over the same period last year for an increase of 50 percent.
The figure for frozen tuna imports this year already represents 63 percent of tuna landings in General Santos City, a new record high since the Philippine fisheries Development Authority (PFDA) office at the General Santos City Fishing Port Complex began releasing data on local tuna landings.
Local catch however has been on a steady decline over the last couple of years with the first 6-month figure this year dropping by 24 percent over the same period in 2014.
Industry sources said the recurring El Niño phenomenon, fishing ground restrictions and overall decline of tuna stocks have contributed to the decrease in local tuna catch.
General Santos City is widely acknowledged as the Tuna Capital of the Philippines with 6 of the country’s 8 canning plants located in the city.