GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews) — Tuna industry stakeholders will gather here on Wednesday to tackle various challenges affecting the industry and set fresh strategies to sustain its competitiveness in the global markets.
Rosanna Bernadette Contreras, executive director of the Socsksargen Federation of Fishing and Allied Industries Inc. (SFFAII), said Tuesday that around 700 foreign and domestic tuna industry players have confirmed to attend the 20th National Tuna Congress on Sept. 5 to 7.
The three-day congress, which will be held at the trade halls of the SM Mall here, focuses on the theme: “20 years and Beyond: Continuing Remarkable Convergence.”
“We’re mainly looking back at the gains of our convergence with various sectors and build on them as we continue to strengthen and expand the industry,” she said.
Contreras said the congress will start with the traditional caravan, eucharistic mass and the opening of a trade exhibit at the SM Mall on Wednesday.
She said the exhibit will feature 82 companies, government agencies and private groups that will occupy a “congress record” of 176 booths.
Contreras said the opening of the trade exhibit will be graced by Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) Administrator Leonardo Rey Guerrero.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol will be keynote speaker on Thursday, the formal opening ceremony of the congress.
Guerrero will present the updates on the proposed Philippine Fishing Vessel Safety Rules and Regulations, which is being awaited by the industry.
“For so many years we have been lobbying for MARINA to come up with this set of rules specific for the fishing sector that will ultimately guide our stakeholders with clarity. Hopefully, the concerns of the fishing industry will be addressed by this,” she said in a ptress conference.
Contreras said SFFAII will launch its first-ever coffee table book entitled “Tuna: At the Heart of General Santos.”
She said they will also host a summit for the tuna handline fishing sector that will be joined by at least 250 stakeholders from various parts of the country.
Fishing companies and allied industries will open its doors to job seekers through the congress’ inaugural job fair, she said.
For the two-day congress proper, she said they have lined up 14 plenary discussions that include the salient features of the Philippine Vessel Safety Rules and Regulations; updates on the development of the Philippine electronic catch documentation and traceability system; updates on certification and sustainability efforts; and, technologies on vessel monitoring for small-scale fisheries.
The congress will end with a presentation at least 11 resolutions on various concerns of the industry to Philippine Fisheries Development Authority General Manager Glen Pangapalan.
The tuna congress is among the highlights of the city’s 2018 Tuna Festival.
Dubbed the country’s “tuna capital,” this city has hosted the National Tuna Congress since it was first staged 20 years ago.
The city hosts six of the country’s seven tuna canneries and other related ventures that generate an average of over US$ 300 million in annual export receipts. (MindaNews)