(UPDATE) AN official of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) on Thursday said the ban on the imported pompano, salmon and other unauthorized imported fish will be implemented as scheduled on Sunday, December 4.
In an interview with The Juan Kabayan, BFAR Information and Fisherfolk Coordination Unit chief Nazario Briguera said the talks with stakeholders are ongoing and their feedback, together with the recommendation from lawmakers, are being considered.
“There is no advice for the suspension of the implementation of FAO 195 (Fisheries Administrative Order 195) or the operation but there are talks happening right now with the stakeholders,” Briguera said.
He noted that the BFAR led by Officer in Charge Demosthenes Escoto continues to hold meetings on the issue.
“We want to hear all the sides but what is clear right now is there is no advise from the BFAR management for the suspension of the campaign against all unauthorized, undocumented, imported frozen fish in the wet markets which are not allowed by the government to be sold in the wet market, not just pompano and salmon,” Briguera said.
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Three days before the start of the campaign, teams were fielded to orient vendors on FAO 195.
Briguera also said the BFAR has responded to the order of Ombudsman Samuel Martirez who gave the agency three days to explain why it is implementing FAO 195 only now.
“We already issued an explanation to the Ombudsman,” Briguera said.
FAO 195, which was issued in 1995, allows traders to import frozen fish like pompano and salmon for institutionalized buyers like restaurants and hotels.
Briguera also confirmed that Escoto already received the letter from the Senate directing the bureau to explain its crackdown on pompano and salmon.
Senators Raffy Tulfo and Mary Grace Poe questioned the BFAR decision to ban the sale of pompano and salmon in wet markets, saying it was anti-poor.
Poe urged the bureau to issue a moratorium while FAO 195 is being reviewed.
Briguera said Escoto also met with Agriculture Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban on Thursday to clear up the issues hounding the BFAR.
He said the BFAR has yet to receive an invitation from the House of Representatives after Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga questioned the ban on the sale of imported frozen fish.