Goodbye China: Massive Foreign Demands to Revive PH’s Once Booming Prawn Industry

The Philippines is starting to benefit the effect of winning the case against China on West Philippine Sea, as some of the major prawn-importing countries mulls to stop importing from China and consider the Philippines as their next prawn supplier.

During 70’s and 80’s, the Philippines was the biggest prawn supplier in the world, but because of declining foreign demands, the industry was totally gone leaving tens of thousands of hectares of fish farms abandoned, or converted into milk-fish and hito farms.

China became the biggest supplier of prawn, followed by some other Asian countries like Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and India. The Philippines is far from the top of the list.

On Friday, during the Asian-European summit held in Mongolia, France and Spain – both major prawn importers, made clear statements that they will be finishing their contracts with China, and asked the Philippines to supply their needs.

France and Spain share more than 500,000 tones of shrimps from China every year. The Philippines on 2009 produced 510,000 tons despite of ailing industry.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said the unexpected statement from two European countries can prompt the country to double its production, and can give more than 100,000 jobs in fish farm industry.

Officials from both countries are expected to arrive in the Philippines on September to discuss the contract with the government and major local prawn suppliers.

Portugal, on the other hand, has expressed its interest to double its order of octopus per year.

On June 2015, Portugal invested more than $50M to the country for octopus farming. After the first delivery last March, the European country said it would double its order prompting the Philippines to add more facilities, especially in the Visayas and Mindanao, to meet Portugal’s needs.

Japan also expressed interest in importing farmed tuna from the Philippines as its natural source has dramatically declined.

The Philippines is one of the countries with the longest coast line and vast waters, and fish farming is seen  by international experts as the easiest way for the country to make money with. /Fanny Jalacjac/


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