Surigao City faces shortage of fish supply

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews / 10 Feb) – Fish vendors and consumers here are now facing the dilemma over the enforcement of the city ordinance prohibiting the sale of any kind of fish beyond the price ceiling of P280 per kilo.

Due to the implementation, common fishermen and fish brokers are selling their fish supplies to other areas outside Surigao City.

Albert Lustiva, supervisor of the Surigao City Public Market, said all 166 fish vendors and the consumers in the city are now affected by the enforcement of the ordinance.

“Fishermen and fish brokers do not deliver their yield to the city because they would be forced to sell at lower price,” he said.

Lustiva said there was no fish being delivered at the fish landing area since Tuesday last week.

The enforcement by the city ordinance took effect after the public expressed their sentiments on the high prices of marine products in the public market despite the huge drop of prices of petroleum products.

City ordinance number 399, which was passed and approved in 2012, regulates the distribution and sale of marine products in the city.

The ordinance said fish sold in the market must not exceed P280 per kilo.

Prior to its implementation last week, some “first class” fish – like sail fish locally known as “liplipan,” blue marlin, bariles, tangigue, langog, among others – were usually selling between P300 and P400 a kilo.

This irked the consumers and expressed outrage.

City Councilor Baltazar Abian told MindaNews that the problem is not the fishermen and the fish vendors.

“The fish brokers are to blame for the high prices of marine products,” he pointed out.

Abian said fishermen in the neighboring islands usually sell their fish from P100 to P120 a kilo. Then a series of fish brokers buy the fish, and by the time these reach the market, they now cost P300 or more.

Abian said they are studying how to eliminate the fish brokers, whom he accused of profiting exorbitantly, to bring the price of fish down.

Some fish vendors, like Lawrence Deserto, are forced to get fish supplies from General Santos City.

This reporter visited the market last Sunday and saw fewer than usual fish being sold.

“This is the first time that there’s this few fish being sold here,” Deserto said.