Import permits suspended for institutional buyers of galunggong, mackerel, bonito


THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said it has stopped issuing import permits to institutional buyers of round scad (galunggong), mackerel, and bonito.

In Memorandum Order No. 14, the DA halted the release of sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances for fish imported for canning, processing, and for other uses by institutional buyers. The order specifically exempts mackerel for canning from the permit freeze.

The memorandum, signed by Agriculture Secretary Francisco P. Tiu Laurel, Jr., cited reports that such imports were being diverted towards public markets.

“The top commodities that are identified as prone to diversion are round scad, bonito, and mackerel,” the DA said.

Fisheries Administrative Order No. 195 (FAO 195) of 1999 authorizes institutional buyers to import frozen, chilled, or fresh fish for canning and processing.

The order was designed to reduce competition for the domestic catch sold in wet markets.

Volumes for imported mackerel are to be based on the VATable sales of the canned product during the prior year, plus an additional 10%.

The DA said fish imported under FAO 195 intended for canning need to follow labeling rules.

In 2022, the DA imposed a similar suspension after finding institutional imports of mackerel and galunggong were being diverted to wet markets. — Adrian H. Halili