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Friday, Jan. 29, 2010 at 3:22 PM
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PESANTE NEWS learned today from news sources in Davao City, Philippines that at least 150,000 people who depend on the tuna industry in General Santos City could end up jobless as a result of a two-year ban on tuna fishing in Western and Central Pacific, a fishing magnate said.
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January 28, 2010
EU-US Bias vs Third World: Tuna ban, 150,000 may lose jobs
Los Angele- PESANTE NEWS learned today from news sources in Davao City, Philippines that at least 150,000 people who depend on the tuna industry in General Santos City could end up jobless as a result of a two-year ban on tuna fishing in Western and Central Pacific, a fishing magnate said.
The ban, which was decided upon by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), started on Jan. 1 and did not exempt purse seine fishing, which is used by most of the fishermen based in General Santos City.
Marfin Tan, president of the Socsksargen Fishing Federation and Allied Industries Inc. (SFFAII), said the ban would render idle at least 200 fishing boats.
Tan earlier said the ban—covering areas parallel to Palau, above Papua New Guinea and below Micronesia and near the Solomon Islands—was supposedly to preserve whatever tuna is left in the seas.
But he said he suspected that it was aimed at dislodging the Philippines and other Third World countries from tuna fishing grounds.
“I suspect big countries, in the guise of conserving and preserving the remaining marine resources in the area, wanted to control the international fishing grounds because their own fishing grounds are already depleted,” Tan said.
He said Western and European countries had all the means to wrestle control of international fishing grounds.
Because of the commission’s decision, apparently prompted by over-fishing of tuna, the Philippine fishing industry has projected a 20 percent drop in tuna supply in the local and world markets.
The tuna industry in General Santos is valued at 0 million based on annual export figures of 400 metric tons.
An official of the US-funded Growth with Equity in Mindanao had previously estimated that 60 percent of the city’s annual tuna catch came from foreign waters.
Stanley N. Swerdloff, GEM senior fisheries advisor in 2002, said that access to tuna-rich fishing grounds in neighboring countries was important to the tuna industry in General Santos.
“Tuna is responsible for almost billion circulating in the national economy, much of it goes to Mindanao,” he had said.
“For our projection this year, the tuna catch will lie low by 20 percent during the first quarter. Fishermen, who are affected by the closure of the high seas, will have to look for other fishing grounds to compensate their losses,” Tan said.
He said the government could still remedy the situation by forging bilateral agreements with other countries in terms of sharing the ocean’s resources.
Undersecretary Virgilio Leyretana, head of the Mindanao Economic Development Council (Medco), said the closure of the high seas was disturbing because it would eventually hurt the economic stability of Mindanao.
“The closure will not only affect the fishermen but also auxiliary businesses related to the cannery business. On top of this, the revenue generation of the local government units concerned will also be in peril,” he said.
Leyretana said that if countries, where Filipino fishermen have ventured into, also decided to close their territorial waters, the problem would get worse.
At least 60 percent of international tuna supply comes from the western and central Pacific.
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