By Roi Lomotan
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – Negros Oriental appealed for deeper understanding from the public in line with the occurring spike in the prices of fish sold at the city’s public market.
DTI Provincial Director Javier Fortunato Jr., together with Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Provincial Fishery Officer Florencia Mepaña, and Dumaguete City Public Market Superintendent Engr. Ronnie Fortin recently met with some members of the media and representatives of the fish vendors’ association in a conference held at the DTI office to discuss the complaints of consumers raised in social media on the high price increase of fish in the city market.
A Facebook user lamented the skyrocketing of prices of local fish like tarugho which is sold at P800 per kilo, tugnos at P280 per kilo, bangus at P200 per kilo, malalangse at P100 per kilo, tamarong at P200 per kilo, and titina at P200 per kilo.
This prompted DTI to organize a conference so that agencies involved can present their sides on the issue.
During the conference, it was disclosed that the increase in prices is attributed to the low supply of fish versus the high demand of consumers.
Market Superintendent Engr. Ronnie Fortin supported the claim of shortage of supply as he cited that in December, the average ton of fish supply in the market recorded was 14 tons, which is 16 tons short of the average 20 to 30 tons of fish needed to meet the daily consumer demand in the market.
“This can be the reason for the price increase of marine products in the public market. There is really a shortage in supply. Hopefully, this is only seasonal,” Engr. Fortin said.
Dumaguete Public Market Fish Vendor’s Association Representative Judy Managat also disclosed in the same conference that right now there is no supply of fish in Negros Oriental particularly in Bayawan City where they usually get their supply of big fishes like tuna.
“Pagkakaron panahuna wala gyud gikan ug Bayawan. Ang among suki na taga-Bayawan mao nang nag-kompra niadto sa Antique, Bacolod. Didto sila nikompra ug tuna. Mao ilaang gihatod dire. Mao ang suplay (Right now, there is no fish sourced in Bayawan City. Our suppliers there would get fish from Antique or Bacolod then they bring it here. That is our supply),” Managat explained.
Fortunato added that factors such as the previous storms that affected the province, episodes of full moon, and the approaching cold season contributed to the short supply of fish.
BFAR Provincial Fishery Officer Florencia Mepaña said that during the colder months, the supply of fish is not abundant because it is not spawning much while some species like tuna migrate to temperate seas during this season.
Mepaña disclosed that BFAR conducts price monitoring but they do not have a part in regulating the price of fish sold in the market.
Fortunato also said that DTI does not regulate prices of fresh fish because they only cover manufactured or canned fish products.
He assured consumers that the department will still continue to monitor prices of fish in the local market.
With this, Director Fortunato appealed for deeper understanding from the public regarding the situation.
“We want people to understand that na menos gyud karon and number two; you have a choice. If you can afford it to buy it at that price, well and good but naa pod other alternatives. Karne na lang, sardinas, or bulad (We want people to understand that the supply is not enough and you have a choice. If you can afford to buy at that price, well and good, but there are other alternatives like meat, sardines, or dried fish),” Fortunato said.