DAGUPAN CITY — The national president of the Philippine Association of Fish Producers (PAFP) has called on the government to investigate the costly commercial feeds being sold in the market whose ingredients listed in their labels were believed imitations.

Eduardo Maramba, PAFP president, brought this matter to the attention of vice presidential candidate Senator Peter Allan Cayetano when he held a dialogue with fish farmers and their families in Dagupan City on February 23.

Maramba, a fishpond owner in Dagupan City, said seven years ago, they used to harvest milkfish 90 days or three months after stocking, but now they have to wait till after 150 days before their fish would reach marketable sizes.

This means that the feeds being used by fish farmers are not effective as the fish are not growing.

He stopped short of naming the country where the alleged fake fish feeds are coming from but revealed it is where the so-called fake rice and fake micro-chips are originating.

“If they can produce fake rice, what more fish feeds,” Maramba said.

The emergence of fake fish feeds in the market that are sold at very exorbitant prices, he said, is one of the reasons that the aquaculture industry is not on a healthy state and is now dying.

He said this problem cropped up because the government agency tasked to monitor firms engaged in feed milling did not do well their jobs of protecting the end-users.

Fish farmers are spending 90 percent of their production cost on fish feeds, which had become very prohibitive these days.

Seven years ago, he said, the price of fish feeds per bag was P300 but is now P900 per bag.

At the same time, Maramba said that the reason the price of milkfish remains low is because the country has 200,000 metric ton surplus of milkfish to date based on the record of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

He said that seven years ago, the price of bangus was P120 to P130 per kilo. Now it costs only P80 to P100 per kilo. PNA/