‘They are taking out a generation of tuna’: overfishing causes crisis in Philippines

Four years ago, the Philippines was given a yellow card over its fisheries by the European Union, prompting the government to pass a stricter fishing law. But there is still no harvesting strategy and illegal and unregulated fishing remains commonplace.

During the Guardian’s visit, young yellowfin and big-eye – none more than 50cm long – were seen on the conveyor belt from ships into General Santos market.

“There is a lot of illegal fishing in General Santos,” says Vince Cinches, Philippines oceans campaigner for Greenpeace south-east Asia. “They are taking out a generation of tuna.”

Harvest limits, better monitoring, and traceability – not to mention unionization – could also help fishers such as Gomez, who feels the pressure of declining stocks and rising demand more than anyone.

For now though, what the old salt catches he cannot afford to eat; what he earns is no longer enough for his family. His wife is now the main breadwinner and the main dish on the dinner table is ever more likely to be chicken than tuna.


In this article, EU warns the Philippines to legislate and follow a stricter fishing law. Philippines ocean is now lack of tuna and those fishers and their family cannot afford to survive. Several tuna species are endangered. For example, bluefin is critically endangered with just 2 people of their 1950 biomass left.



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