I. Norte to enter the arena of handline tuna exporting

Ilocos Norte is now casting its nets for a more sustainable trade of yellowfin tunas (Thunnus Albacares) as World Wildlife Organization or WWF traced a growing tuna fishery at Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte.

According to Constancia E. Pascua, the Provincial Fishery Coordinator, two officers of WWF-Philippines namely Jose Angelito Palma, the Vice President for Conservation Programs, and Joe Pres A. Gaudiano, the Program Manager, had personally visited Domingo La Torre, a  top yellowfin tuna dealer based at Brgy. Davila, Pasuquin.

“La Torre can transport at most 12 boxes of yellowfin tunas per day, each weighing more or less 60 kilos. But of course, it still depends upon the weather condition,” Pascua said.

“The WWF is planning to teach him [La Torre] more about handline-fishing and how to better preserve the tunas for possible export,” Pascua added.

La Torre, a native of Marinduque, is a 2001 Gawad Saka National Awardee for teaching his fellow fishermen innovative fishing technologies which they had eventually adapted for their own livelihood. Having caught WWF’s attention, he is now said to be one of the subjects of the organization in its project of improving small-scale tuna fisheries in various sites in the country by introducing fishing methods which suit the international standards, particularly the European market which prefers handline-caught tunas.

Gov. Imee R. Marcos, who is in full support of all the small-scale businesses in the province including those which are in the fish sector, also showed her support as she ordered the Provincial Fishery to oversee the progress of said activity with the hopes that Ilocos Norte will soon be able to be one of the leading tuna exporters in the country.

Handline fishing is a method which uses a single fishing line with one or more lures or baited hooks attached to it. It is usually held by the hands. Being one of the oldest forms of fishing, handlining is still common up to date. (Grazielle Mae A. Sales, PGIN-CMO)