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BFAR executive to consider directive regarding the sale of imported fish

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Fisheries Administrative Order (FAO) No. 195 will be the subject of a review by a larger group of stakeholders, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) informed the Senate on Monday.

Officer-in-Charge Demosthenes Escoto stated that BFAR is responding to requests to target imports rather than small shopkeepers who disobey the order.

“It’s the same with our examination of the importers [under FAO] 195. Stakeholders in fisheries, market vendors, owners of supermarkets and grocers, “During the Committee on Agriculture, Food, and Agrarian Reform’s open hearing, he said.

Escoto reported holding two meetings with Metro Manila market administrators.

By the first quarter of the next year, “we are hoping that we will be able to move forward to come up with a more responsive and more efficient regulation on the importation of fish and fisheries goods,” he said.

FAO 195, which was published in 1995, permits traders to import frozen fish for institutional consumers like restaurants and hotels, including pompano and salmon.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) decided to halt its campaign against imported fish after lawmakers and others questioned the agency’s decision to prohibit the selling of such types in wet markets.

The hearing was held in response to Senator Raffy Tulfo’s recent privileged speech in which he questioned the BFAR order, which he believes has an impact on the availability of particular fish products and the livelihood of small-time sellers.

To inform and educate fish vendors about the policies, remind them not to sell imported fish products to canning, processing, and institutional buyers, and assist in preventing at their level the illegal diversion of these products that are not authorized for wet markets, BFAR’s Information, Education, and Communication department visited 21 wet markets in Metro Manila from November 24 to December 3.

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