Octopus in The Philippines
The Philippines is a major producer of octopus and the catch methods are mostly artisanal, generating livelihoods for thousands of rural small-scale fishermen. While in many countries octopus are caught by trawlers, in the Philippines this fishing method is banned and only artisanal fishing methods are used like spearfishing, jiggers, traps and by hand. Despite the sustainability of the majority of these gear types, there is no real management of the stock and landings figures and details are mostly lacking. Octopus are landed by small-scale opportunistic fishers that will bring any valuable catch to local middlemen (buying stations) that trade an assorted array of species for export purposes. Only a small number of processing plants in the Philippines process and export octopus. For most of these companies octopus is only a side product as export volumes are relatively small and octopus are not the easiest species to process. The majority of the octopus exporters are based close to the main ports in the Philippines including in Manila, Cebu and General Santos. Additionally, two major processing plants are also based in Palawan close to the extensive octopus and squid fishing grounds in this province. Although the international interest for Philippine octopus is increasing, local catches are decreasing and so are the number of buying stations around the country. Since no management measures for octopus stocks have been planned, this trend is expected to continue.