Bleak Christmas for workers in tuna industry

The canned tuna sector has been reeling from the effects of global warming these past months.
“Particularly for my company, we are now working eight hours compared to 24 hours operation before,” said Fernandez, manager of Ocean Canning Corporation

He said he believes other canning factories are experiencing the same.

Ocean Canning has around 1,500 workers operating on a 24-hour basis. These days, only 700 are working in an eight-hour operation.

Dubbed the “Tuna Capital of the Philippines,” this city hosts six of eight tuna canneries in the country.
Fernandez noted it is not just the local tuna industry that is reeling from the effects of global warming but also players in other parts of the world.
Global warming has pushed tuna stocks deep down the ocean where nets of fishing vessels could not catch them, Fernandez said.
“Tuna likes cool temperatures,” he stressed.

Fernandez hopes to resume normal operations by February next year when the weather shall have improved.

Ricardo Magnayon, Jr., manager of General Tuna Corp., reiterated the local tuna industry is experiencing scarcity but adds his company is sill operating at normal capacity “because we have placed orders for our production schedule until the end of the year. We also have not cut down on our workforce,” he said.

Magnayon lamented that scarcity of supplies has brought prices of raw tuna to an all-time high of $1,500 per ton.
He declined to blame the scarcity of tuna stocks to global warming, explaining he is not an expert on climatic changes.

Miguel Lamberte, manager of the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority which supervises the modern fish port complex here, earlier said fewer fishing vessels arrived at the fish port this year compared with last year.

He said unloading of tuna stocks at the fish port complex has declined by 20% to 30% in the last few months. He blaming the declining volume partly to global warming.
“Global warming came into play for the reduced tuna catch. Also there’s the rising costs of diesel fuel that led to fewer fishing expeditions,” he said.
Despite the reduced operational capacity of the tuna canneries, export receipts of canned tuna products for the first eight months this year reached $111 million, with the European Union, United States and Japan as major markets, data from the Department of Trade and Industry in Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao, showed.

The canned tuna sector was able to ship 52 million kilograms to 22 other foreign markets to achieve the figure during the period, it added.
For 2006, canned tuna products generated export sales of at least $172 million at a volume of 93.1 million kilos, a comparative report from the regional Trade department office said. (MindaNews)