Fisherfolk gain more benefits from sardines beaching if post-harvest and market support are available – Oceana - Oceana Philippines
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Fisherfolk gain more benefits from sardines beaching if post-harvest and market support are available – Oceana

Press Release Date: March 4, 2024

Oceana urges the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to immediately implement the National Sardines Management Plan (NSMP) and together with the local government units (LGUs), provide post-harvest and market support to fisherfolk. If these facilities are present, they will benefit from the reported beaching of sardines in Samal Island and Sarangani recently, and in Masbate early last year.

The international non-government organization advised the BFAR to work with the management body of the 12 Fisheries Management Areas (FMAs) in the country to determine the cause and possible implication of such incidents, identify measures to avert possible decline in sardines’ production in the future, and avoid wastage due to post-harvest losses.

“We are happy for the fisherfolk’s massive catch of sardines, but fishers can further benefit if we minimize the spoilage and increase the sardines’ market value by giving them appropriate post-harvest assistance and marketing support.  Overfishing and decline of the fish population translate to food security issues that need to be addressed. One of the immediate measures is the implementation of the national plan for sardines. Based on this plan, which has been adopted by the Department of Agriculture (DA)-BFAR, all 12 FMAs in the country must urgently implement science-based measures and policies,” said Atty. Gloria Estenzo Ramos, Oceana Vice President.

According to Oceana, the beaching of sardines may be caused by several factors, such as the sudden changes in water temperature or oxygen levels because of natural ocean processes. This could also be caused by human activities such as pollution. In other sites, studies have shown that upwelling can also be a reason. This is when currents push the nutrient-rich cold waters from the deep to the surface which increases the growth of plankton that serves as food for the sardines. This causes the sardines, even at their juvenile stage, to thrive and overflow on the shore. Hence, according to Oceana, it is crucial to determine the exact reasons for these phenomena.

A fisherfolk from Maasim, Saranggani related it was the season of surge of Tamban at the time that it happened. “We were happy to have abundance of catch but the fish port traders buy fish at a very low price. That is why we opted to keep and had it dried for post-catch processing or made this as Ginamos (fish sauce), intending to earn more even days after their harvest. We need support from the government for cold storage and drying equipment and tools. Otherwise, we’ll be at the mercy of fish traders who buy 1 tub of sardines at seven pesos only when we spend more than two hundred pesos for ice and transportation,” said Abdela Ishmael.

The 5-year NSMP was crafted in May 2020 to ensure that post-harvest losses and wastage can be avoided.  The plan recognizes the bio-physical aspects and life cycle of sardines and follows an ecosystem and science-driven approach for its management.

“We call on the FMA 3 Management Body that has jurisdiction over Saranggani, headed by the BFAR XII Regional Director Usop Pendaliday, Jr., and the FMA 2 Management Body which covers the Samal Island beaching of sardines, headed by BFAR XI Regional Director Relly Garcia, to implement the NSMP, convene their Scientific Advisory Group (SAG), and conduct a comprehensive study of the marine ecosystems in Sarangani and Samal Island and the contiguous areas under their jurisdiction. They should also assess the status of sardine stocks in their area so that immediate and strategic recommendations are in place to sustainably manage their sardines and other fish catch, and uphold the well-being and livelihood of our poor, artisanal fisherfolk,” said Ramos.

Ramos said the NSMP recognizes the different aspects and interactions in the marine ecosystem covered by the FMAs in different parts of the county. In doing so, the plan could achieve conservation, sustainable use, and fair sharing of benefits in our sardine resources. (END)

Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one-quarter of the world’s wild fish catch. With more than 300 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, oil and plastic pollution, and the killing of threatened species like turtles, whales, and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that 1 billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. Visit to learn more.


For More Information:

Joyce Sierra, Communications Manager, Oceana 

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