There is something fishy about this marine biodiversity hotspot, the Philippines, that may cause those expensive red fish to disappear from the Chinese wedding platter.
An environment group has warned that dozens of fish species have disappeared from the Philippines waters or are on the verge of being lost.
According to a study conducted by Haribon, one of the Philippines’ oldest conservation groups, and Britain’s Newcastle University, that has based its findings on interviews with 2,600 fishermen across the Philippines, overfishing is taking a toll on marine life and causing several species to disappear.
Steep population rise has multiplied local demand. This part, the Philippines is a major exporter of fish and it serves China, Singapore and Hong Kong. Overfishing to meet the demands of a fast-growing population and Chinese restaurants around the region was a key factor in the decline, AFP quoted Gregorio dela Rosa, a marine biologist with Haribon, as saying.
“These species are usually served in restaurants, swimming around in aquariums. They command a high price. If you have lots of mouths to feed, you need lots of fish to catch. It has a very big impact because most of our fish are exported to China, also Singapore and Hong Kong. The groupers are highly priced, especially the red ones which are in demand in Chinese wedding (receptions),” dela Rosa, told AFP.
While dynamite and cyanide fishing are illegal and no longer rampant, the study found that they continue to contribute to depleting fish stocks.