The local government of San Jose is planning to rediscover and strengthen the local tuna production industry for export in San Jose. This plan was unveiled during a meeting with WWW-Philippines and a number of tuna fish vendors particularly based in Barangay Sabang of this town.

WWW-Philippines is an international organization engaged in successful implementation of various conservation projects to help protect the biological richness of some of the most biologically-significant ecosystems in Asia.

Since 1997, WWF-Philippines has been working as a national organization of the WWF network and the latter’s involvement in the Philippines dates back to 1969, when it funded the protection efforts to preserve the endangered Philippine eagle. In 1988, it has become a full-fledged program with the Philippines becoming known as the first Asian country to benefit from an innovative scheme called the “Debt for Nature Swap” which involved the cancellation of a portion of the Philippines’ debt with a country in exchange for funding high-priority conservation projects.

According to Ms. Joann P. Binondo, Overall Project Manager of the Partnership Program towards Sustainable Tuna of the WWF-Philippines, the tuna local production for export in San Jose has not yet been tried and tested, but in Tabaco and Tiwi, a certain tuna exporter has already been getting supplies from as far as the Caramoan area. Supposedly, the tuna supplies could have been landed in San Jose and be processed for export quality. However, the lack of appropriate facilities that will process the newly caught tuna fish for export remains unexplored by the local tuna vendors and producers, instead it has become available only for domestic consumption which, according to their studies, are about 70% than those for export of only 30%.

Ms. Binondo further stressed that the town of San Jose has the potential of becoming the transit point of the supplies of tuna fishes for export only if the local fishermen and fish vendors (casas) have the technical know-how of maintaining the freshness of the tuna meat.

Meanwhile, Mayor Antonio B. Chavez openly expressed his commitment to assist and willingness to provide the local fishermen the necessary motorbancas which are equipped with refrigeration store box for tuna or the LGU will even establish/construct tuna refrigeration facility using its available resources so that the exporter(s) may be able to lease or rent it. On the motorbanca, he said that the local fishermen can pay back the motorbancas to the LGU for a certain period of time on installment basis.

To amplify his interest to the tuna export venture, Mayor Chavez immediately directed and gave the tasked to the Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO) to gather statistical data that would be the basis for further analysis, studies and recommendations.