Handline caught yellowfin tuna. Photo by: Jonah van Beijnen
The Philippines has zeven main fish port complexes:
- General Santos Fish Port Complex
- Navotas Fish Port Complex
- Iloilo Fish Port Complex
- Lucena Fish Port Complex
- Zamboanga Fish Port Complex
- Davao Fish Port Complex
- Sual Fish Port Complex
The General Santos and the Navotas Fish Port Complex account for 83% of the landings landed at these fish ports, which corresponds to 277,263 MT. These ports contain landings sites, storage facilities, grading facilities and auction halls that meet EU requirements for proper hygiene and sanitation. Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) inspectors are present in these ports to verify the legality and origin of landings and to approve the accompanying paperwork. The management of these ports falls under the responsibility of the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority (PFDA).
With an archipelago of over 7,000 islands, these 7 fish ports are out of reach for most municipal fishermen and subsequently only 16% of the annual catch in the country is landed here. The other 84% of landings take place in hundreds of smaller landings sites across the country. These smaller municipal landing sites are rudimentary and contain, in most cases, only a concrete peer to land the catch. Storage facilities, grading facilities and auction facilities are lacking. More importantly, these smaller landings sites do not meet any hygiene and sanitary standards and BFAR inspectors are not present. It should be noted however that BFAR is working hard to improve the situation. In 2015/2016, they made funding available to develop one hundred new landing sites across the country that meet EU sanitary and phytosanitary requirements.
Purse seine vessels and longline vessels tend to land their catch at one of the ports managed by the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority as the majority of the canning operations are located in the vicinity of these ports.
For tuna canneries, by far the most important port is the General Santos Fish Port Complex located in the southern province of Mindanao. Therefore, the majority of the purse seine vessels and longline vessels that are part of the country’s long distance fishing fleet land their catch at this port.