Sablayan Holds Its First World Tuna Day Celebration Along with WWF-Philippines

May, 02 2024

​National and local government officials gathered with Tuna Fishers Association (TFA) leaders to celebrate the first World Tuna Day in Sablayan, a first in the history of the province.
“Tuna is an important industry for us. It contributes to our food supply, livelihood, and tourism,” said Mayor Bong Marquez. “Today’s celebration is done in solidarity with the rest of the world as they take part in the World Tuna Day,” he added. 

In addition to uniting the small-scale fishers and giving them a voice, the celebration of World Tuna Day also aims to advocate for the protection of tuna stocks, a resource that brings so much asset to the municipality. 

"Events like this are crucial because they help fishers like us feel recognized and valued, as we often feel overlooked,” Ryan Acosta, Chairman of the Pinagpalang Mangingisda ng San Nicolas Association (PMSNA) shared pertaining to the significance of the event to the fishing community. 

Sablayan has 10 coastal barangays. “Nearly 40% of the total economy of Sablayan relies on fishing,” Marquez shared. This reliance, however, has been threatened since the world’s tuna stock began depreciating. Communities that depend heavily on the Mindoro Strait and its abundant tuna catches for their sustenance and livelihood now need to implement measures to address persisting tuna stock threats. 

“We are facing significant challenges brought upon by conservation management difficulties and the current El Niño,” Marquez explained. Events such as World Tuna Day help underscore the importance of responsible fishing and consumption of artisanal marine products such as yellowfin tuna and squid.

In one report in 2016, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) announced and acknowledged the crashing of global tuna stocks. The report revealed that one-third of tuna stocks among seven species are being fished unsustainably. Should this trend persist, the report warned, tuna populations might fail to meet the escalating global demand. 

World Tuna Day has since then been observed to emphasize the importance of conservation efforts in order to save tuna stocks from crashing. 

WWF-Philippines has maintained its efforts to promote sustainable fishing practices since 2011. Today, the organization operates two projects in Occidental Mindoro under its Sustainable Tuna Program. Through fisherfolk empowerment and alternative livelihood initiatives, the program continues to lobby for the plight of small-scale fishers and guide them toward a sustainable and equitable fisheries sector.

After the updates and discussions facilitated by national and local government officials, fisher leaders, and representatives from WWF-Philippines, the event transitioned to the main festivities. Eight casas participated in the festival, each showcasing tuna catches sourced from local fishers. Various stalls also displayed their unique specialties, featuring seafood other than tuna. Local and international guests were present as Sablayan concluded its first World Tuna Day celebration. 
Sablayan Holds Its First World Tuna Day Celebration Along with WWF-Philippines
© WWF-Philippines/Romer Imperial