The Characteristics of Philippine Small Pelagic Fisheries and Options for Management

Paul Dalzell
South Pacific Commission
BP. D5., Noumea Cedex, New Caledonia
Perlita Corpuz
International Center for Living Aquatic Resources
Management (ICLARM)
Reubeen Ganaden
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR)


An account is given of the present status of small pelagic fisheries in the Philippines. Small pelagic fishes account for about one-quarter of all fish landed in the Philippines and about 20% of the total value of the fisheries production. The commercial and small-scale municipal sectors of the Philippines fishing industry catch roughly equal amounts of the half millions tons of small pelagic fishes landed annually. However, the gross benefits from the resource are divided between far fewer fishermen within the commercial sector. Small pelagic fishers in the Philippines are at present biologically and economically overfished. The expansion of commercial fisheries after World War II and the continued growth of the small-scale municipal sector parallel with population increase have led to the overexploitation of Philippine small pelagic fishery resources. Regulation of the commercial fisheries sector should be relatively straightforward by the use of existing fisheries and related legislation. Such solutions are acknowledged to be ineffective with municipal fisheries, and wholesale reduction of fishing effort will only be possible through increasing opportunity costs for labor and the withdrawal of a substantial number of fisherman from the municipal sector.

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