July 09, 2021. The Philippines is both an exporter and importer of fish and fishery products (FAO, 2014). Finfish (Osteichthyes) remained as the top export and import of the Philippines in 2019. A total of 205,540 metric tons (mt) of chilled/frozen fish of tuna, mackerel, and sardines, was exported with a value of 44.56 billion pesos, while the imported chilled/frozen fish in 2019 totaling to 407,958 mt amounted to 29.09 billion pesos (BFAR, 2020).
Frozen fish are fishery or aquatic products that have been subjected to a process that will reduce the temperature to 18ºC (0ºF) to preserve its quality (BFAR, 1999).
In 2008, the existing international Codex Standard for Quick Frozen Finfish, Uneviscerated and Eviscerated (CXS 36-1981, Rev. 1-1995) was adopted as Philippine National Standard (PNS/BAFPS 71:2008). Three years after its adoption, the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards (BAFS) initiated the table review of the said PNS to harmonize the standard with the revised Codex standard, conduct technical review and update the product specifications, including food safety and quality parameters, based on the current regulatory and market requirements.
On 8 July 2021, an online stakeholder consultation was conducted to review the working draft PNS for Quick Frozen Finfish (Uneviscerated and Eviscerated). Twenty-seven (27) stakeholders representing regulatory agencies, academic/research institutions, private stakeholders and civil society organizations participated in the said activity. The activity was facilitated by the BAFS Management Team, led by Ms. Camille Baraquiel together with Ms. Froline Bernas and Mr. Aljon Reyes. The Technical Working Group (TWG) Chairperson, Dean Encarnacion Yap (UP - Visayas), facilitated the discussion of the working draft PNS.
The microbiological limits under essential composition and quality factors and the Rules and Regulations Governing the Labeling of Prepackaged Food Products Distributed in the Philippines Administrative Order No. 2014-0030 for the reference of labeling were the major issues raised during the consultation.
After the consultation, the TWG will schedule a meeting to deliberate the technical comments/suggestions gathered to finalize the draft PNS. The final draft PNS for Quick Frozen Finfish is expected to be endorsed to the DA Secretary by the third quarter of CY 2021. ###
Figure 1. The BAFS Management Team, TWG, and stakeholders during the conduct of online final
stakeholder consultation of PNS for Quick Frozen Finfish (Uneviscerated and Eviscerated).
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources – Department of Agriculture (BFAR-DA). (2019). Philippine fisheries profile. https://www.bfar.da.gov.ph/publication.jsp?id=2375#post
BFAR-DA. (1999). Rules and Regulations Governing Importation of Fresh/Chilled/Frozen and Fishery Aquatic Products (Fisheries Administrative Order 195 s. 1999). https://www.bfar.da.gov.ph/LAW?fi=337
Food and Agriculture Organization. (2014). Fishery and Aquaculture Country Profiles - The Republic of the Philippines. http://www.fao.org/fishery/facp/PHL/en
Philippine Statistics Authority. (2020). Fisheries Situation Report for January to December 2020. https://psa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/Fisheries%20Situation%20Report%2C%20January%20to%20December%202020_0.pdf