Occidental Mindoro to promote tuna industry in Arawatan Festival

SAN JOSE, Occidental Mindoro (PIA) — Did you know that Occidental Mindoro also has a thriving tuna industry?

The provincial government of Occidental Mindoro this year included tuna-themed activities in this year’s celebration of the Arawatan Festival to raise awareness that this province can lay claim to being the Tuna Capital of Luzon.

The Tuna’s Biggest Catch Challenge started on Monday, with 20 fishing boats from the municipalities of Sablayan and Mamburao participating in the contest. Alrizza Zubiri of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) explained that their coordinators who are stationed in ports were tasked to monitor and measure the participants’  catch until November 14.

Winners of the competition will receive recognition and monetary awards on November 15, amounting to P20,000 for the champion, P15,000 for the 1st runner-up, P10,000 for the 2nd runner-up, and P5,000 for the 3rd runner-up.

On November 13, a yellowfin tuna cutting demonstration will be held  in Mamburao where 10 participants will cook various dishes using tuna caught during the Tuna’s Biggest Catch Challenge.

Additionally, eight municipalities, namely: Rizal, Calintaan, Sablayan, Mamburao, Paluan, and Abra de Ilog, including the island municipalities of Looc and Lubang will be inking a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to form a tuna alliance in the province to strengthen the province’s  tuna industry,

“Mapaloob po [dito] ‘yong iba’t ibang programa at proyekto with regards sa tuna industry…mayroon ding inclusion ng ceremonial signing ng community fish landing center sa Sablayan,” Zubiri explained.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Provincial Office will also join the Agritrade fair where they will showcase a technology that uses tuna skin to produce leather. They will also demonstrate how to make polvoron out of tuna bones. Zubiri underscored that these are the government’s initiatives to show value-adding activities for fisherfolks.

As of 2022, the OPA recorded 158.668 metric tons (MT) of tuna caught in the province, while there are over 1,000 fisherfolk in Occidental Mindoro who catch tuna. Zubiri explained their record is only a portion of the tuna catch in the province, “Hindi talaga [lahat ng huli sa probinsya ay] naa-account for kasi yung iba ay hindi na dito binababa [ang kanilang huli] at direkta na sa Manila.”

“Malaki po ang potensyal ng ating tuna, actually mga high quality ang ating mga tuna. Kaya may mga reports na kung saan ang ating tuna ay napupunta pa sa Gen San kung saan [doon] na paprocess yung iba. Marami pong mga namimili sa atin ng tuna,” Zubiri said.

The Arawatan Festival commemorates the 73rd founding anniversary of Occidental Mindoro. This year’s festival activities started on October 31 to November 15, with the theme: Isang pagdiriwang ng katatagan, pagbangon at pagpupunyagi sa mga hamon ng panahon. (DGS/PIA MIMAROPA – Occidental Mindoro)

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