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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Roundscad, The Philippine Fish Topnotcher

By
Melchor F. Cichon
2005

In 1950, roundscad was not even listed among the top ten commercial fisheries production by major fish species in the Philippines.

But the following year, roundscad or galonggong (Decapterus sp.) became the most productive fish in the country.

And it has been on top for 38 times since then.

Also, it has been ranked 6 times as a second placer, and once on rank 3 since 1950 to 1997.

It 1997, the total commercial production of roundscad was 196,588 metric tons or about 22.2 % of the total commercial fish production, the highest among the top ten fisheries production in the country.

In the same year, the total marine municipal production of roundscad reached 32,290 metric tons (about 4.2% of the total municipal production) and it ranked number 7.

No other Philippine fishes have come closed to roundscad production.

Tuna and tuna like species landed five times in Rank 1, and once in Rank 2.

Slipmouth landed only four times in Rank 1 from 1950 to 1997, and 22 times as Rank 2, and three times in Rank 3. (see Fig. 1)

No other fishes have ranked first since 1950 to 1997.

Fig. 1 (Number of Rankings of Top Three Most Productive Fishes in the Philippines, 1950-1997)

.Species .......Rank and Frequency
......First... Second... Third
Roundscad ....38 ..6 ..1
Tuna & tuna like species.. 5 .1... 0
Slipmouth ...4 ...22... 3
Sardines ....0 ...11... 15

Galonggong has different names in other parts of the country. Here are some of them

Local Name Province
Alumahan .... Tawi-Tawi
Barranti ....... Apari
Borot ...........Cagayan de Oro City
Budboron ....Cebu
Malatindok ... Tacloban
Malimno ......Catbalogan, Samar
Marot or Tamodios.... Iloilo
Sibubog .......Bicol
Tayang (malaki) ....Cotabato City
Tulay - ........Jolo, Sulu (Taosug)

Roundscads are generally caught in the West Sulu Sea which contribute about 37 percent of the total commercial catch . Other fishing areas that have abundant roundscads are the following: Visayan Sea, South Sulu Sea, Moro Gulf, and East Sulu Sea.

Roundscads have also been caught at the Samar Sea, Batangas Coast, South Sulu Sea and Lamon Bay.

Here are the fishing grounds for roundscads (production in mt) , 1991-1992

Fishing Grounds ....Year and Production (mt)

................1991.....1992

West Sulu Sea.... 2,250 ....2,712
South Sulu Sea...54,638 ...76,408
Visayan Sea...... 34,7665 .31,529
Moro Gulf........ 16,535 ....36,990
Lamon Bay ......5,024 ......10,988
East Sulu Sea ...6,285 ......7,535
Cuyo Bay ........3,760 ......1,687
Tayabas Bay ...4,199 ......5,326
Batangas Coast ...808 .....942
Bohol Sea .......6,100 ......6,889
Others .........112,596 .....93,031

Total ........559,860..... 274,037

The major fishing gears used to catch roundscads are purse seine, bagnet and trawl.
Here is the average total production of roundscads by type of gears used, 1979-1987 (in mt)

Types of gears Quantity

Purse seine/ringnet ..85,305
Bagnet .......26,258
Trawl .........22,289
Gill net .......9,238
Hook and Line ....5,881
Round haul seine .1,562
Beach seine ........1,126
Fish coral ...........1,017
Long line ............1,047
Others ................1,845

Total ..............155,568

There are five species of roundscads in the Philippines. These are Decapterus macrosoma, D. maruadsi, D. macarellus, D. russelli and D. kurroides.

Because they are usually caught in depths between 40 m to 200 m., they are considered pelagic fishes. But they become demersal during their spawning season. And they avoid salinity of less than 30 ppt (part per thousand) and their distribution depends on the abundance of zooplanktons, small fishes and crustaceans.

Their spawning season is from December to March in the Palawan waters and December to April or May in the Manila Bay.

Below is the available statistics on roundscad production from 1950 to 2001.This was compiled by this writer from the Fisheries Statistics of the Philippines, and from the Philippine Fisheries Profile, both issued by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.

It must be noted that the lowest production was in 1953 with a total commercial production of 7,248,129 kg or 248 mt., while its highest was in 2001 with a total production of 282,787 mt.
It must be noted too that the production of roundscad is fluctuating. This can be attributed to the use of modern and more sophisticated fishing gears and methods. The possibility of getting over-exploitation is great.

This was in fact already noted by Bimbao, Gomez and Ramos in 1991.

Let me quote their recommendations:

"Roundscad supply had been fluctuating and moving at a slower rate in the past 12 years. Strategies on increasing fish catch vis-à-vis efficient marketing system were among country’s development thrusts. In the case of roundscad, however, it was given attention by national policy makers only recently as manifested in the launching of "Operation Galunggong: Presyong Abot-kaya ng Mamamayan" on February 14, 1991 in selected markets in Metro Manila purposely to make it affordable to the consuming public.
"Due to the biological nature of roundscad which abound only on deeper waters, its supply comes mostly from commercial rather than the municipal sector. Therefore, government programs/projects which call for the introduction of modern fishing technologies, improved vessel operating technique, and promotion of more efficient fishing gears must be addressed to the former. It has been observed that most traditional fishing grounds for roundscad are heavily exploited and almost depleted as manifested in the declining roundscad catch. Thus, an extensive exploratory study to determine the productivity of the traditional as well as non-traditional fishing grounds vis-à-vis the prevailing monsoon must be conducted. Moreover, a comprehensive resource assessment project should be implemented to identify and determine the most productive and profitable fishing grounds. An overly fished area can then be given a chance to recover and restore its natural productivity. Exploitation of non-traditional fishing rounds as well as restoration of overfished areas can be enhanced through intensive information campaign and technology."
Amen.

Production of Roundscad by Fishery Sector, 1950-2001/
Note: from 1950-1972 in kg; from 1973-2001 in mt

Year ...Production Total ...Commercial... Municipal
1950 ....317,910 ......NA* ......317,910
1951 ....4,644,210 ...NA ........4,644,210
1952 ....9,693,096 ...NA.........9,693,096
1953 ...7,248,129 .....NA .......7,248,129
1954 ...21,153,660 ...NA .......21,153,660
1955 ...27,539,257 ...NA .......27,539,257
1956 ..18,884,655 ...NA ........18,884,655
1957 ..19,322,468 ....NA .......19,322,468
1958 ..21,050,325 ...NA ........21,050,325
1959 ..21,904,330 ...NA ........21,904,330
1960 ..23,783,450 ....NA........23,783,450
1961 ..252,58050 ....NA ........25,258,050
1962 ..39,125,400 ...NA ........39,125,400
1963 ..58,526,630 ...NA ......58,526,630
1964 ..80,293,760 ...NA ......80,293,760
1965 ..99,939,440 ...NA ......99,939,440
1966 ..96,088,640 ...NA ......96,088,640
1967 ..100,327,360 ...NA ....100,327,360
1968 ..87,521,240 ....NA .....87,521,240
1969 ..109,728,640 ..NA ....109,728,640
1970 ..150,713,000 ..NA ....150,713,000
1971 ..142,920,520 ..NA ....142,920,520
1972 ..150,355,750 ...NA ...150,355,750
1973 ..170,014 ...........NA ..170,014
1974 ..168,010 ...........NA ..168,010
1975 ..157,969 ..........NA ....157,969
1976 ..184,998 ........39,666..224,664
1977 ..156,631 .......26,067..182,698
1978 ..115,030 ........27,583.142,613
1979 ..114,868 ........31,338.146,206
1980 ..111,316 ..........20,813..132,129
1981 ..120,857 .........29,090...149,947
1982 ..150,266 .........32,987 ...183,253
1983 ..131,261 .........33,762 ...165,023
1984 ..105,013 ........26,570 ....131,583
1985 ..106,262 .........25,446 ...131,708
1986 ..151,298 .........24,557 ...175,855
1987 ..154,059 .........30,352 ...184,411
1988 ..149,213 .........29,474 ...178,687
1989 ..179,873 ..........29,948...209,821
1990 ..220,379 .........28,921 ...249,300
1991 ..247,330 .........NA .......247,330
1992 ..246,960 .........NA .......246,960
1993 ..243,565 .........26,545 ..270,110
1994 ..210,276 ..........22,901..233,177
1995 ..235,813 .........23,955 ..259,768
1996 ..200,418 ........23,506... 223,924
1997 ..196,588 .........32,290.. 228,878
1998 ..216,821 .........28,322.. 245,143
1999 ..219,519 ........28,943 ...248,462
2000 ..225,861 .........30,115 ..255,976
2001 .250,679 .........32,108 . .282,787

Note: *NA No record available

Sources
Bimbao, Gaspar D., Ma. Carol E. Gomez, and Erlinda M. Ramos. 1991. Trends and prospects of roundscad in the Philippines. Fishery statistics bulletin, vol. 1, No. 8, May 1991. 20p. (mimeo)

Calvelo, Rosita R. 1997. Review of the Philippine small pelagic resources and their fisheries, pp.259-299. In: M. Devaraj and P. Martosubroto, eds. 1997. Small pelagic resources and their fisheries in the Asia-Pacific Region. Proceedings of the APFIC Working Party on Marine fisheries. First Session, 13-16 May 1997, Bangkok, Thailand. RAP Publication 1997/31, 445p.

Fisheries Statistics of the Philippines. Manila, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic

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