Agriculture Secretary of Philippines, William Dar, led the inauguration of the new multi-species hatcheries and broodstock tanks, which are seen to boost the aquaculture sector. The facilities are located in the Tigbauan Main Station of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC). They were established between 2019 and 2021 in support of the DA-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR)’s Bangus Fry Sufficiency Program.
SEAFDEC/Aquaculture Department Chief, Dan Baliao, said in the inauguration that the new infrastructures cost an estimated amount of almost half million dolars. Noting that aquaculture represents 50.9 percent of the fisheries production in the country, Secretary Dar affirmed the commitment of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to enhance the country’s aquaculture research and industry to further promote “masaganang ani at mataas na kita” for Filipino fisherfolk.
“I’m now seeing the use of biotechnology as a tool of science to make possible that those impossible before can now be properly done. And because of SEAFDEC’s engagement in science and technology for aquaculture, we now have a good number of technologies that can now be used not only for the Philippines, but also for Southeast Asian countries in the future,” Sec. Dar said.
“Don’t rest on your research breakthroughs until those technologies are properly utilized in a big way by Southeast Asian countries,” he added.
The four new broodstock facilities have a holding capacity of 2,000 tons or about 400 milkfish breeders, and are projected to produce 320 million eggs annually.
On the other hand, the marine hatcheries have a rearing capacity of 160 tons. About 20 million milkfish fry, 5.4 million pompano fry, 14.4 million shrimp postlarvae, and/or 2.5 million crab instars are expected to be produced in these facilities every year.
A 40-ton multi-species freshwater hatchery was also inaugurated, projected to produce 16 million catfish fry, 4.5 million freshwater prawn postlarvae, and/or 910,000 tilapia fry per year.
The new aquaculture infrastructures aim to boost SEAFDEC’s demonstration and technology transfer programs, to solve the shortage of aquaculture seeds in the Philippines. The facility will produce and distribute good quality seeds, and serve as a prototype for other hatchery business ventures in the country.
Cooperation in Southeast Asia
SEAFDEC is an autonomous inter-governmental body that ensures the sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture in Southeast Asia in cooperation with 11 member countries including Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The Philippines hosts SEAFDEC’s Aquaculture Department, which takes charge of the organization’s fisheries-related research and development.
The DA chief further challenged the SEAFDEC management and urged them to upscale fisheries science.
Aside from the new hatcheries and broodstock farms, the event also featured an exhibit of various fish species, crustaceans, feeds, tissue-cultured seaweeds, and other products from SEAFDEC’s multiple offices all over the country.
New multi-species marine hatchery, but in Perez, Quezon
In the same week, the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, in partnership with the Local Government of Perez in Quezon, inaugurated a new multi-species marine hatchery constructed in the municipality, reported the Government in a press release.
In the effort to boost the country’s aquaculture production by providing more local sources of fry, the Department had presented the hatchery in a ceremony that highlighted the completion of the Phase 1 construction of the hatchery amounting to 400,000 dollars, and the turn-over of additional budget of 300,000 dollars for the initial operation and maintenance of the current facility towards the Phase 2 construction.
Located in Brgy. Villamanzano Sur, the government aquaculture facility is the first ever established legislated hatchery projected to produce 25 million pieces of milkfish fry annually. These fry will then be transferred to nursery ponds in nearby areas. Produced fry from the hatchery will be eventually supplied to cage operators in mariculture parks in Alabat, Perez, Padre Burgos and other municipalities of Quezon, consequently reducing the necessity to import fry from other regions or countries.
Designed in collaboration with SEAFDEC, the infrastructure currently covers 1,500 square meters of the total 4,800 square meters land allocated for the project, setting aside area for future expansion for culture of other alternate species such as crabs, shrimps, pompano and grouper. Further, the project provides a training facility for students, individuals, or groups interested in putting up bangus hatcheries for their livelihood.