CRACKDOWN BFAR spokesperson Nazario Briguera urges fish vendors to cooperate with the agency against the unauthorized selling of imported frozen fish during a radio interview on Monday (Nov. 28, 2022). He reminded the fish vendors to check suppliers' documents for authorization of imported frozen fish. (Screengrab)

MANILA– The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) clarified Monday that the crackdown on unauthorized imported frozen fish on wet markets is neither new nor late in implementation.

In an interview with Radyo Pilipinas, BFAR spokesperson Nazario Briguera said the crackdown was part of the bureau’s guidelines on fish importation based on Fisheries Administrative Order (FAO) 195.

Gusto lang po nating linawin, kasi may mga lumalabas na feedback na bakit ngayon lang? Gusto po natin linawin na matagal na pong ipinatupad ang Fisheries Administrative Order 195. In fact, ito po ‘yung guidelines natin patungkol po doon sa pag-angkat ng mga isda na ang destinasyon po ay institutional buyers (We just want to clarify, because we’re getting feedback, why only now? We want to clarify that it has already been implemented long ago, the FAO 195. In fact, that’s our guidelines on the importation of fish bound for institutional buyers),” she said.

Briguera was referring to reactions, questioning the timing of the campaign against selling of imported frozen fish by wet market vendors last week.

During an inspection in Quezon City market last week, vendors were warned against the selling of unauthorized frozen fish such as pink salmon and pompano.

“Nitong mga nakaraang buwan, dumaragsa ang mga diverted imported frozen fish product sa ating mga palengke. So, minarapat po ng ahensya na ipaalam sa ating mga fish vendors na pwede naman ang mga imported fish sa palengke kung ito ay otorisado at may kaukulang papeles (During these previous months, the diverted imported frozen fish products are filling up our markets. So, we opted to inform our fish vendors that imported fish are allowed, but only if it’s authorized and with adequate papers),” he said.

The BFAR insisted that such diversion of destination is technically illegal since these imported products are bound for the use of hotels, restaurants, and canning industries.

Briguera reiterated the agency’s call for vendors to cooperate by checking their suppliers’ documentary attachment for imported fish.

The BFAR official said they would start confiscating illegal frozen fish being sold in wet markets on December 4. (PNA)