AQD conducts fish health training in Cambodia

AQD scientists Dr. Gilda Lio-Po and Dr. Rolando Pakingking Jr were tapped to be the resource persons in the Government of Japan Trust Fund (GOJ-TF)-sponsored basic training on freshwater and marine fish health management in Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

The training was held September 22-24 for freshwater fish and September 25-27 for marine fish. Participants are mostly fisheries officers of the Department of Fisheries (DOF) of Cambodia.
The goal of the training sessions was to provide participants with theoretical and practical knowledge on: (1) signs and epizootiologies of economically-important freshwater and marine fish diseases, (2) evaluation of fish epizooties, (3) submission of diseased fish samples for diagnosis, and (4) basic laboratory skills for detection of viral, bacterial, and parasitic pathogens.

JIRCAS senior researcher visits AQD

JIRCAS (Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences) senior researcher Dr. Satoshi Watanabe visited AQD last October 28 to 31 to discuss the feasibility of a research project on co-culture of shrimp and sea cucumber in collaboration with SEAFDEC.

AQD extended help to Dr. Watanabe thru the Deputy Chief Dr. Ogata in gathering relevant information. Dr. Watanabe spent his first day at AQD touring the hatchery of the UPV-DOST sea cucumber seed production and stock enhancement project (a collaboration with SEAFDEC and GOJ) together with Dr. Ogata and Ms. Rema Sibonga, the project’s research assistant.

Next, Dr. Watanabe with Dr. Ogata and some AQD staff went to Talotoan and other nearby islands in Concepcion, Iloilo last October 30 to observe and gather data on the natural habitat and existing species of sea cucumber in the area. On the 31st of October, Dr. Watanabe, Dr. Ogata and Mr. Garibay went to Igang Marine Station where further data was gathered on the sea cucumber project.

AQD at four international symposia

AQD continues to actively participate in both local and international conferences, workshops, and other relevant gatherings held recently.

World Fisheries Congress
The most current of which was the World Fisheries Congress held last October 19-24 in Yokohama, Japan wherein AQD Chief Dr. Joebert Toledo, Dr. Ma. Rowena Eguia and Dr. Edgar Amar presented papers on "Institutional capacity development for sustainable aquaculture and fisheries: strategic partnerships with local institutions," "Research initiatives on the domestication and genetic improvement of freshwater prawns (Macrobrachium spp.) in the Philippines," and "Immunological approaches for preventive management of WSSV in shrimp Penaeus monodon" respectively. Mr. Armando Fermin on the other hand presented a poster entitled "Donkey’s ear abalone, Haliotis asinina (L): hatchery, aquaculture, and prospects of sea ranching in the Philippines."

AQD participation was made possible through the support of GOJ-TF.

5th International Symposium of the Japanese Society for Fish Pathology
Dr. Leobert de la Peña and Dr. Edgar Amar of the Fish health section attended the 5th International Symposium of the Japanese Society for Fish Pathology with the theme The role of fish pathology in sustainable aquaculture held October 18-19 at the University of Tokyo.

During this event, Dr. de la Peña presented a poster on the multiple viral infections in the wild black tiger shrimp in the Philippines.

Global Conference on Small-scale Fisheries
Ms. Didi Baticados and Dr. Nerissa Salayo of the Socioeconomics section were AQD’s representatives to the Global Conference on Small-scale Fisheries last October 13-17 in Bangkok, Thailand.

The said conference was organized by FAO-Rome in collaboration with the host Government of Thailand and its Department of Fisheries, SEAFDEC and the World Fish Center. The key issues discussed during the Conference’s panel plenary and work group presentations include social and economic development and human rights issues, governance, policy processes and systems, fisheries management approaches and market aspects and means of increasing post harvest benefits.

Panel discussions on securing access and user rights by small-scale indigenous people, and fishing communities to coastal and fishery resources that affect their livelihoods were also covered during the Conference. Although the Conference is about small-scale fisheries, it has major linkages with aquaculture in view of the inter-relations between fisheries and aquaculture.

Aquaculture was viewed during the said gathering as supplemental or alternative livelihood for small-scale fishers when there is available technology suited in the community and its environment.

UNITAR Training Workshop
Dr. Nerissa Salayo attended the UNITAR (United Nations Institute for Training and Research) training workshop series on sea and human security with the theme Towards a comprehensive security for seas and oceans: the Hiroshima initiative held last September 27 to October 3 in Hiroshima, Japan.

The theme is based on the understanding that sustainable use and protection of seas and oceans can lead to peace. In this connection, the said event aims to enhance the capacity development of experts from different fields and develop a peer exchange among themselves.

AQD joins three Philippine congresses

16th Philippine Society for Microbiology-Visayas Chapter Annual Meeting and Scientific Convention
Several AQD staff participated in the 16th Philippine Society for Microbiology, Inc. (PSM) - Visayas Chapter Annual Meeting and Scientific Convention last October 16-17 at Mambukal Resort Convention Center in Murcia, Negros Occidental.

Mr. Norwell Brian Bautista & Mr. Demy Catedral of the Fish Health Section, and Mr. Francis Legario of the Nutrition & Feed development Section presented papers entitled "Experimental susceptibilty of pompano Trachinotus blonchii to viral nervous necrosis virus (VNNV)," "Isolation and characterization of oxytetracycline-resistant bacteria associated with the rearing water of hatchery-reared mudcrab (Scylla serrata)" and "Identification of Lactobacillus sp. isolated from milkfish Chanos chanos Forsskal using 16s rRNA gene sequencing" respectively.

The following AQD staff on the other hand presented posters.
• Mr Joseph Faisan Jr. (Fish Health Section) - "Enhancement of immune responses of high value aquaculture species (E. fuscoguttatus and P. monodon) by immunostimulant administration"
• Ms. Ma. Thesa Billena-Hagy (Biotech Office) - "Electron microscopy at SEAFDEC
• Ms. Dianne Aster Yunque (Farming Systems & Ecology Section) - "Ice-ice associated bacterium isolated and characterized from infected Kappaphycus striatum var. green sacol tissue"

In addition, AQD scientists Dr. Gilda Lio-Po and Dr. Relicardo Coloso gave a lecture on recent developments in the study and surveillance of koi herpes virus (KHV) in Asia and biochemical characterization of bacteria isolated from the digestive tract of the milkfish Chanos chanos and its use in the improvement of the nutritive value of ingredients for milkfish feed, respectively.

Dr. Rolando Pakingking headed the convention’s organizing committee as his last official function as PSM-Visayas President. Mr. Bautista, Mr. Catedral and Mr. Ave Aron Araña of Devcom Section served as recording secretary, corresponding secretary and technical support respectively.

National summit on saline tolerant tilapia
Mr. Ruel Eguia, associate researcher in BFS, represented AQD at the First national summit on saline tolerant tilapia held at the Asian Fisheries Academy, BFAR-NIFTDC compound, Dagupan City last October 2-3.

The summit’s aims were to: (1) gather all fisheries players from the academe, government, non-government and private sector to formulate the road map for research, development and extension (R, D & E) for saline tolerant tilapia, (2) document the R, D & E and gaps on saline tolerant tilapia and (3) identify the package of technologies on saline tolerant tilapia for dissemination and promotion.

Mr. Eguia served as moderator in the session "Culture techniques for saline tolerant tilapia."

Hipon Summit 2008
AQD Chief Dr. Joebert Toledo together with AQD scientists Dr. Ma. Lourdes Aralar, Dr. Maria Rowena Eguia, Dr. Leobert de la Peña, Dr. Fe Dolores Estepa, Dr. Celia Pitogo, and Dr. Emilia Quinitio participated in the Hipon Summit 2008 hosted by BFAR-NIFTDC held last August 21 to 22 in Dagupan City.

Dr. Eguia presented a paper on the status and prospects of high health Penaeus vannamei broodstock production while Dr. dela Peña presented a paper on diseases of P. vannamei and diagnostic services. Dr. Aralar and Dr. Pitogo on the other hand acted as moderators in summit sessions.

The oath-taking of new officials of the Philippine Aquaculture Society wherein Dr. Toledo is the new president and Dr. Pitogo is the vice president for the Visayas also took place.

AQD at fairs and exhibits

AgriLink/FoodLink/AquaLink 2008
AQD participated in the AgriLink/FoodLink/AquaLink 2008 exhibit organized by the Foundation for Resource Linkage and Development, Inc. It was held at the World Trade Center Metro Manila last October 9-11 with the theme "Sustaining agricultural growth through niche markets."

In joining this prestigious event, AQD was able to: (1) showcase its products (publications and hatchery fry) and services (technical assistance and training programs) to a wide range of clientele (i.e. entrepreneurs, students, educators, and development oriented groups), (2) promote science-based aquaculture technologies to more than 200 visitors, (3) sell 231 books & aquaculture extension manuals and (4) sell red tilapia fry and giant freshwater prawn postlarvae to re-focusing entrepreneurs who wanted to do trial production runs. In addition, unsold fish stocks on display were donated to a fisheries school for educational purposes.

AQD technical resource persons on the other hand, gained exposure and insights on the problems and needs of the industry through interacting with people from the industry. Such needs could prompt further research.

On the third day, Mr. Armando Fermin presented a seminar on breeding and grow-out of abalone as part of the DA-BFAR seminar series.

19th National Statistics Month
AQD participated in the statistical exhibit organized by National Statistics Office (NSO) Region 6 as part of the celebration of the 19th National Statistics Month having a theme of "Demand-driven statistics: key to micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) development." The exhibit opened October 7 with a program at the ground floor of Robinson’s Place, Iloilo City. Guests of honor were Ms. Rowena Barte-Zulueta, Executive Director of Iloilo Producers Association with Dir. Ro-Ann Bacal, Chairman of Regional Statistical Coordination Committee & NEDA Regional Director, and Mr. Harry Dolendo, Provincial Statistics Officer of NSO Iloilo.

Other participating agencies of this 10-day event were Commission on Population, Bureau of Fisheries and Aqua-tic Resources, Cooperative Development Authority, Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Health, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Trade and Industry, Fiber Industry Development Authority, Iloilo Provincial Planning and Development Office, Iloilo State College of Fisheries, National Statistics Office, National Statistical Coordination Board, Philippine Postal Corporation, Social Security System, and Technical Education & Skills Development Authority.

45th Fish Conservation Week
AQD joined the 45th Fish conservation week: fisheries exhibit and product fair with the theme "Pagbabago ng klima: hamon sa likas-kayang pangisdaan." The event was organized by BFAR-Fisheries Industry Development Support Division (FIDSD) held last October 19-25 in AANI Garden and Livelihood Center, Quezon City Memorial Circle.

Participating in this event, AQD was able to show its fervent cooperation and support for the ideals of fish conservation and environment protection. SEAFDEC’s efforts and contributions to the industry were also publicly acknowledged by Mr. Jonathan Dickson of BFAR who is incidentally the country coordinator for SEAFDEC activities.

In addition, AQD staff who participated experienced various informative and interactive activities. Lastly, AQD was able to promote science-based aquaculture technologies and sell books and manuals.

DepEd Division Science Fair
Dr. MR Eguia and Ms. Antonieta Evangelista of BFS served as members of the Board of Judges in the Dep-Ed division science quiz, fair, sci-drama and strategic intervention material competition last September 30 at the FP Felix Memorial National High School, Cainta, Rizal.

AQD conducts training courses in Dagupan City and Iloilo

Shrimp Health Management Training
AQD scientists Dr. Leobert de la Peña and Dr. Celia Lavilla-Pitogo together with technical assistant, Mr. Geimbo Capulos conducted a shrimp health management training at the new DA-NFRDI (Department of Agriculture-National Fisheries Research and Development Institute) Aquatic Health Laboratory in Dagupan City last August 24-30.

The training aims to familiarize the participants with the basic principles of shrimp health management to enable them to recognize diseases using diagnostic methods.

Topics included biosecurity procedures, disease recognition by gross examination and other methods and preparation, submission and processing of samples.

Training participants were mostly from NFRDI with two other participants from UP Diliman and AgriFisheries World.

Fish Health Management & Culture of Natural Food Organisms
These courses were offered at AQD's Tigbauan Main Station in Iloilo starting October 3, and ending on the 30th.

There were two trainees for the former and one for the latter. Trainees were from Saudi Arabia and China.

Japanese Ambassador visits AQD

His Excellency Makoto Katsura, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan and party dropped by AQD’s Tigbauan Main Station on the afternoon of September 17. He was welcomed by AQD Chief Dr. Joebert Toledo, Deputy Chief Dr. Hiroshi Ogata, and division heads Atty. Jerry Opinion (AFD), Dr. Evelyn Grace Ayson (RD), Dr. Clarissa Marte (TVDD), and Ms. Kaylin Corre (OIC-TID).

Ambassador Katsura and his party were shown the AQD institutional video and were briefed on the biotech facilities by Dr. Ayson, including its objectives, services offered, and relevant activities. Ambassador Katsura asked how the technology from AQD gets passed to the end users, given the “sophisticated” nature of research. To this, Dr. Toledo said that research results are verified and demonstrated for the farmers, and that AQD has collaborative activities with the local government units, non-government organizations, and national government agencies, in addition to the conduct of training courses in aquaculture.

The group then proceeded to tour the biotech facilities and the abalone hatchery. Ambassador Katsura wished AQD more success, and with a full schedule ahead, the party departed for the province of Antique to assist the victims of Typhoon Frank.

AQD participates in three international events

(From left) Dr. Toledo, Dr. Ayson, Ms. Luhan and Mr. Encena at the World Bank competition; Dr. Toledo (seated left) at the Workshop on Integrated Coastal Zone Management for Sustainable Aquaculture in South Korea; and Ms Tormon (standing) at the JICA training program

AQD was very much visible in the international scene, participating in three gatherings this quarter.

The latest was World Bank's 2008 Development Marketplace Global Competition which was held September 22-27 in Washington DC, the USA.

This was attended by AQD Chief Dr. JD Toledo, Research Head Dr. Evelyn Grace DJ Ayson, researchers Ms. Ma. Rovilla Luhan and Mr. Vincent Encena III.

The group presented a proposal on community-based abalone farming based on AQD’s innovative modular abalone culture in sea netcages.

The competition sought innovations in three sub-themes: (1) linking small-scale farmers to input-output markets; (2) improving land access and tenure for the poor; and (3) promoting the environmental services of agriculture in addressing climate change and biodiversity conservation.

The tilt was co-sponsored by the World Bank, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ).

AQD Chief Dr. Joebert Toledo was on hand to attend the 2008 FFTC-NFRDI International Workshop on Integrated Coastal Zone Management for Sustainable Aquaculture held last August 26 in Pusan, South Korea.

The Chief presented a paper on the role of sustainable aquaculture in integrated coastal zone management.

The workshop was organized by the Food & Fertilizer Technology Center and South Korea’s National Fisheries Research & Development Institute.

Ms. Dianne Hope Tormon of AQD’s Socioeconomics Section participated in the JICA Training Program for Young Leaders in the Field of Economic Development in Japan.

The training program was held last September 10-27 at the JICA Center in Osaka and the Fukui Prefecture in the Hokuriku region.

What learnings can be possibly applied from her experience in Japan? According to Ms. Tormon, we could adapt the Japanese support system for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and their positive attitudes and values, as well as develop national programs for entrepreneurial activities.

AQD holds strategic planning meeting

AQD personnel assembled at the TID Conference Room had their hands (and heads) full as they hammered out a strategic plan for AQD from August 13-15.

Over the next three days, four workshop sessions were conducted related to the four goals of AQD, namely (1) generate science-based aquaculture technologies and information appropriate for the region; (2) verify, demonstrate and transfer viable technologies; (3) develop, strengthen the capacities of aquaculture sector; and (4) continuously promote the institutional and financial stability of AQD. In this vein, strategic plans of departmental & regional programs, and of the four divisions were presented. Issues and concerns, recommendations and follow-up actions were then tackled by the assembly, which included such topics as climate change and environmental impacts; industrial vs. rural aquaculture; high-volume but low-value species; and administrative and financial concerns.

The workshop sessions were facilitated by AQD consultant Mr. Salvador Garbanzos and Dr. Christine Mae Hernando of UP Visayas.

Prior to the big event, each concerned division and section met to iron out their individual plans.

Dr. JHP one of Time’s Heroes of the Environment

Dr. Jurgenne Primavera, Scientist Emerita of AQD, is the only Filipino featured in Time Magazine’s cover story on Heroes of the Environment 2008.

Dr. Primavera was cited for her groundbreaking work on the life cycles of tiger prawns in the Philippines and for campaigning for sustainable aquaculture to protect the mangroves. Dr. Primavera recommends a four-to-one ratio of mangroves to farm ponds so that nature and aquaculture both flourish.

In response to the well wishes that came her way, Dr. Primavera said, “Thank you for your congratulations. And thank you to Time’s Hannah Beech for stating so clearly that I am not and have never been against aquaculture in my mangrove advocacy. My paradigm is that of mangroves and ponds existing side by side, carefully balanced to protect the environment while sustaining food production. And it is the mandate of SEAFDEC/AQD to establish and continuously refine the parameters of that balance.”

The 30 heroes, classified as leaders & visionaries, moguls & entrepreneurs, activists, and scientists and innovators, also featured the likes of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, writer Kim Stanley Robinson, and environmental activist Annie Leonard.

Laguna Lake Dev’t Authority GM visits AQD's BFS

On his way to demolish illegal fishpens in Laguna de Bay, Laguna Lake Development Authority General Manager Edgardo Manda paid AQD’s BFS a surprise visit last August 8.

BFS staff briefed him on the activities being conducted at the station and gave him a tour of the facilities. In turn, he discussed the activities of LLDA and suggested possible areas of collaboration between the two institutions, one of which includes promoting awareness of lake conservation and management in secondary school students, wherein BFS can act as venue of ecological camps for these students. He found the training building and the housing facilities conducive venues for trainings and seminars.

Mr. Manda also foresees setting up a consortium of research institutions and academe involved in research in the lake to discuss issues and problems of the lake and come up with viable solutions. In this vein, the BFS laboratories can also be used by LLDA in collaborative researches and regular water quality monitoring. He is also interested in promoting the culture of the giant freshwater prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii in the lake.

In addition, LLDA has an ongoing project on freshwater ornamental fish culture in tanks and ponds with BFAR Region IV-A and Bioresearch, and suggested that BFS be involved in this project as well.

AQD at the 1st Pinoy Aquatic Food & Tech Expo

AQD took part in the first-ever Pinoy Aquatic Food and Technology Expo organized by the Agri-Aqua Network International (AANI) and held at the AANI Site, Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City.

The expo, which ran from August 29-31, was a “tiangge”-type affair, showcased agricultural and aquatic products, aquatic farms, aquatic feed and probiotic companies, and aquaculture technologies from AQD and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) regional centers.

Staff from the Binangonan Freshwater Station and Manila Office took turns in manning AQD’s booth during the activity. Around 85 visitors, mostly first-timers, dropped by the booth and availed of technical advice on mudcrab, seaweed and tilapia farming. About P9,600 worth of AQD publications were sold to the public.

The expo gave AQD an opportunity to promote its technologies and programs, especially ABOT AquaNegosyo and ICDSA; advertise training course offerings and provide free technical assistance; and promote extension manuals, especially the new publications.

Training updates

This quarter, AQD completed four short training courses for its different stakeholders: (1) Induced spawning of clariid catfishes which was held 30 June – 04 July for two from the private sector; (2) Milkfish hatchery, 05-14 July, for three from the private sector; (3) Nursery cage culture for grouper, 16-19 July; and (4) Grow-out cage for grouper, 10-11 September.

The grouper training courses were for the fisherfolk in Mindanao (Misamis Occidental province). Two sessions of each course were conducted in cooperation with either the Philippines-Australia Community Assistance Program/MOAVEC or ACIAR/GataDaku Multipurpose Cooperative.

Meanwhile, another four training courses are ongoing: (1) Fish health management, 11 Sept – 12 Oct, being attended by a Tanzanian national; (2) Crab seed production, 15 Sept – 01 Oct, for a Malaysian national; (3) Grow-out culture of mudcrab, 22 Sept – 10 Oct, for two Filipino entrepreneurs; and (4) Principles of health management in aquaculture, 29 July – 14 Dec, the internet course with 14 virtual trainees from Brunei, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, China, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, and the USA. The online course is funded by GOJ-Trust Fund.

Further, AQD hosted 17 study tour groups whose interests ranged from abalone and marine fish hatcheries to information technology infrastructure. A total of 216 entrepreneurs, fish farmers, government officials and out-of-school youths have so far been oriented on AQD programs and facilities.

AQD bridges discussion between fishers and regulators

A Workshop on the filter net (tangab) and lift net (bintahan) fisheries in Iloilo Strait was held at FishWorld on 18-19 August 2008 by the SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Region 6 in an effort to find ways to reduce the waste of marine resources due to the tangab and bintahan.

FishWorld Curator Teodora Bagarinao studied the tangab fishery in the Oton and Tigbauan, in Morobuan, Jordan, Guimaras, and in Calumpang and Santo Nino Sur, Iloilo City in 2007-2008. She published her initial findings in a colorful booklet (What’s in a Tangab?) that has been widely circulated at the four tangab fishery sites. AQD Chief Dr. Joebert Toledo asked her to present the results of the study at a workshop of the main tangab stakeholders. So she did. At the workshop, Prof. Ricardo Babaran of the University of the Philippines College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences also presented research data about the bintahan fishery in Miagao.

Some 53 stakeholders from Iloilo City, from Jordan, Guimaras, and from Oton, Tigbauan, Guimbal, and Miagao of the First Congressional District of Iloilo attended the workshop — tangab operators, bintahan operators, barangay captains, municipal and city agriculturists, agriculture technicians, chairpersons of the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Councils, and members of the Sangguniang Bayan.

The workshop included a site visit to Calumpang, Iloilo City to see the tangab harvest on the morning of 19 August. Upon return to FishWorld, the different LGUs met with their respective tangab and bintahan operators and defined their positions regarding the two fisheries. In the afternoon, Romulo Pangantihon of the Iloilo City Agriculturist’s Office moderated the plenary discussion. BFAR’s Dr. Jonathan Dickson helped the discussion along. Other BFAR regulators and the stakeholders themselves recommended various interventions that could improve the tangab and bintahan fisheries.

The workshop confirmed the need to ensure the sustainability of these local fisheries, and in particular, to maintain the economic benefits in terms of food and livelihood but to reduce the ecological costs in terms of the killing and waste of small marine animals and young and undersized fishery species.

New papers published by AQD

CUVIN-ARALAR MLA, LAZARTIGUE AG, ARALAR EV. 2008. Cage culture of the Pacific white shrimp Penaeus vannamei at different stocking densities in a shallow eutrophic lake. Aquaculture Research. (online early as of Aug 5, 2008)

LEBATA MJHL, Le Vay L, PRIMAVERA JH, Walton ME and JB BINAS. 2007. Baseline assessment of fisheries for three species of mud crabs (Scylla spp.) in the mangroves of Ibajay, Aklan, Philippines. Bulletin of Marine Science 80(3): 891-904

PRIMAVERA JH, Altamirano JP, LEBATA MJHL, delos Reyes AA Jr. and CL PITOGO. 2007. Mangroves and shrimp pond culture effluents in Aklan, Panay Is., central Philippines. Bulletin of Marine Science 80(3): 795-804

PRIMAVERA JH, Esteban JMA. 2008. A review of mangrove rehabilitation in the Philippines: successes, failures and future prospect. Wetlands Ecology and Management 16 (3): 173-253

HURTADO AQ, Critchley AT, Trespoey A, Bleicher-Lhonneur G. 2008. Growth and carrageenan quality of Kappaphycus striatum var. sacol grown at different stocking densities, duration of culture and depth. Journal of Applied Phycology (online first)

SALAYO N, Garces L, Pido M, Viswanathan, Pomeroy R, Ahmed M, Siason I, Seng K, Masae A. 2008. Managing excess capacity in small-scale fisheries: Perspectives from stakeholders in three Southeast Asian countries. Marine Policy 32: 692-700

Le Vay L, LEBATA MJH, Walton M, PRIMAVERA J, QUINITIO E, LAVILLA-PITOGO C, PARADO-ESTEPA F, RODRIGUEZ E, Ut VN, Nghia TT, Sorgeloos P, Wille M. 2008. Approaches to stock enhancement in mangrove-associated crab fisheries. Reviews in Fisheries Science 16(1-2): 78-80

Quilang JP, BASIAO ZU, Pagulayan RC, Roderos RR, Barrios EB. 2007. Meristic and morphometric variation in the silver perch, Leiopotherapon plumbeus (Kner, 1864) from three lakes in the Philippines. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 23: 561-567

Okuzawa K, Maliao RJ, QUINITIO ET, BUEN-URSUA SMA, LEBATA MJHL, Gallardo WG, Garcia LMB, PRIMAVERA JH. 2008. Stock enhancement of threatened species in Southeast Asia. Reviews in Fisheries Science 16: 394-402

Jing NH, Taha AM, PAKINGKING RV Jr, Wahab RAB, Huyop F. 2008. Dehalogenase from Methylobacterium sp. HJ1 induced by the herbicide 2, 2-dichloropropionate (Dalapon). African Journal of Microbiology Research 2: 32-36

Maluping RP, Ravelo C, LAVILLA-PITOGO CR, Krovacek K, Romalde JL. 2005. Molecular typing of Vibrio parahaemolyticus strains isolated from the Philippines by PCR-based methods. Journal of Applied Microbiology 99: 383-391

Vairappan CS, Chung CS, HURTADO AQ, Soya FE, Bleicher Lhonneur G, Critchley A. 2007. Distribution and symptoms of epiphyte infection in major carrageenophyte-producing farms. Journal of Applied Phycology (online first)

Walton ME, Le Vay L, LEBATA JH, BINAS J and JH PRIMAVERA. 2007. Assessment of the effectiveness of mangrove rehabilitation using exploited and non-exploited indicator species. Biological Conservation 138: 180-188

Williams M, Coles R and JH PRIMAVERA. 2007. Viewpoint - Lesson from Cyclone Larry: an untold story of the success of good coastal planning. Est. Cstl. Shelf Sci. 71: 364-367

Le Vay L, Carvalho G, QUINITIO ET, LEBATA JH, Ut VN and H Fushimi. 2007. Quality of hatchery-reared juveniles for marine fisheries stock enhancement. Aquaculture 268: 169-180

Kühlmann K-J, Focken U, COLOSO RM & Becker K. 2008. Diurnal feeding pattern and gut content of milkfish Chanos chanos (Forsskål, 1775) cultured semi-intensively during the wet and dry season in brackish ponds in the Philippines. Aquaculture Research (Online early)

TOLEDO JD. 2008. Grouper aquaculture R&D in the Philippines. In: Liao IC, Leaño EM (eds). The Aquaculture of Groupers. Manila, Philippines: Asian Fisheries Society, Louisiana, USA: World Aquaculture Society, Keelung, Taiwan: The Fisheries Society of Taiwan, Keelung, Taiwan: National Taiwan Ocean University; p 79-93

LAVILLA-PITOGO CR. 2007. Training needs and provision in developing countries of the Asia-Pacific region. In: Dodet B, the OIE Scientific and Technical Department (eds.). The OIE Global Conference on Aquatic Animal Health. Developments in Biologicals 129: 125-126

OCLARIT JM, HEPOWIT NL. 2007. DNA amplicons using arbitrary primers distinguish polymorphic loci among mangrove thraustochytrid genomes. OCEANS 2007- Europe. p 1-7

Maluping RP, LAVILLA-PITOGO CR, Romalde JL, Krovacek K. 2008. Molecular typing and antimicrobial susceptibility of Vibrio parahaemolyticus strains. In: Bondad-Reantaso MG, Mohan CV, Crumlish M, Subasinghe RP (eds.). Diseases in Asian Aquaculture VI. Fish Health Section, Asian Fisheries Society: Manila, Philippines. p 451-468

Barbier EB, Koch EW, Silliman BR, Hacker SD, Wolanski E, PRIMAVERA J, Granek EF, Polasky S, Aswani S, Cramer LA, Stoms DM, Kennedy CJ, Bael D, Kappel CV, Perillo GME, Reed DJ. 2008. Coastal ecosystem-based management with nonlinear ecological functions and values. Science 319:321-323 (reports)

Walters BB, Ronnback P, Kovacs JM, Crona B, Hussain SA, Badola R, PRIMAVERA JH, Barbier E, Dahdouh-Guebas F. 2008. Ethnobiology, socio-economics and management of mangrove forests: A review. Aquatic Botany 89:220-236 (review)

PRIMAVERA JH. 2007. Integration of aquaculture and mangroves. Bulletin of Marine Science 80:931 (meeting abstract)

LAVILLA-PITOGO CR, DE LA PEÑA LD, TENDENCIA EA. 2007. Enhancing disease monitoring in shrimp though a geographical information system (GIS) application. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 81 (Special Issue): 218-219 (meeting abstract)

SEAFDEC is developing an early warning system for pollution in mariculture parks

From good to bad to worse, left to right. After a very detailed sediment color chart  is developed, fish farmers may be able to visually assess their cages’ impact and  take action to head off fish killsTIGBAUAN, ILOILO – The Aquaculture Department (AQD) of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) is developing an early warning system to guard against the negative impacts of fish cages in mariculture parks.

This is certainly good news to fish cage operators who stand to lose their investment should fish kills occur and to Mother Nature itself. According to the Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the government has so far put up 34 mariculture parks around the country. A sea cage measuring 10 x 10 x 6 meters in the park may produce as much fish as 10 hectares of fishpond in a cropping cycle of five months. Hence DA-BFAR's emphasis on mariculture parks to boost fish production as noted in President Arroyo's recent state-of-the-nation address.

"The early warning system is a rather simple technique," explains Dr. Joebert Toledo, Chief of SEAFDEC/AQD. "What the managers of the mariculture parks (for example, DA-BFAR) need to do is periodically collect samples of sediments, or the soil under the sea cages." Then they compare the color of their sample to a reference color chart which will let them know how far off or how near they are from ideal conditions. A very detailed sediment color chart is being developed by SEAFDEC.

The color comparison method is basically the same technique used by rice farmers to see if their rice needs additional foliar (leaf) fertilizer.

How the technique was developed

To develop the system, SEAFDEC first monitored two sites (fish cage site and non-fish cage site) at its Igang Marine Station in Nueva Valencia, Guimaras where a mariculture park is located. SEAFDEC researcher Ms. Sheila Mae S. Santander who made the study said that she compared the nutrients, presence or absence of infauna, and sulfides in the sediments collected using a core sampler. She found out that the sediment color mirrors the degree of sediment deterioration. This finding becomes the basis of the very detailed color chart being developed by SEAFDEC.

It must be noted that the Marine Science Institute of the University of the Philippines Diliman earlier conducted studies on sediment quality and also trained farmers on simple environment monitoring.

Where's all that bad stuff coming from?

Pollution in sea cages comes from the feeds given to the fish to sustain the large stocking densities. Feeds that are not eaten or digested properly, plus other waste products go into the water and some will eventually settle onto the sediment bottom. Ms. Santander said that this leads to higher sedimentation rates in the area.

"Bacteria in sediments would not be able to cope and break down all the wastes. Some of these wastes – organic matter – could be resuspended into the water column. This in turn could lead to eutrophication or over-enrichment. When this happens, microscopic plants – algae – would bloom, but when they die off, dissolved oxygen in the water could be depleted. Without oxygen, fish, like humans, would start dying."

And it is not just the fish in the cages. The toxic conditions could impact the infauna, or animals living within the sediments. One such infauna is polychaetes. Polychaetes are segmented marine worms which burrow in the sediment bottom. They play an important role in the marine environment through their burrows which serve as habitat of microorganisms. These microorganisms produce enzymes which recycle organic matter. This is very similar to the role that earthworms play in agricultural farmland. Polychaetes allow stable organic matter degradation through their burrowing. Without the burrows, the enzymes are easily washed out.

Ms. Santander also explained that sedimentation rates, ammonia and phosphate concentrations were higher in cage sites compared to non-cage sites. Dissolved oxygen was also found to be lower in the cage sites. Consequently, no polychaetes were found in these areas.

What's a park locator to do?

Should park operators or BFAR find out that the mariculture park's sediment is getting bad, SEAFDEC suggests that a "fallow period" be implemented. The fish cages may be moved into another area of the mariculture park. This allows the sediments and infauna of the threatened area to recover. Park locators should heed the advice of BFAR and SEAFDEC once the early pollution alert is issued.

Park locators should also check their feeding regimes (they may have been overfeeding). They must strictly adhere to the recommended or proper feeding management to help reduce wastes. The lesser the amount of wasted feeds, the lesser the quantity that reaches the sediment bottom, and the greater the number of polychaetes present. Park locators and managers may likewise step up their water monitoring parameters.

Dr. JD Toledo: the legacy of SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department

As SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department celebrates 35 years of research, technology demonstration, training and information dissemination, AQD Chief Dr. Joebert Toledo paid tribute to the past & present AQD staff, past AQD Chiefs, the Government of the Philippines (Department of Agriculture, DA-Bureau of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources, Department of Foreign Affairs, and Department of Budget & Management), the Government of Japan, and past & present funding & collaborative partners.

Dr. Toledo said that because of these men and women working on and supporting responsible aquaculture, AQD was able to leave behind the following legacy to the aquaculture industry:

The legacy of tiger shrimp and milkfish, the two pioneering commodities in aquaculture. AQD practically built the tiger shrimp industry which became a sunshine industry in the '70s and '80s. AQD aided its partial recovery in the mid-'90s when the mangrove-friendly shrimp culture technologies were developed and tested in the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

With milkfish, AQD began a national breeding program with the Department of Agriculture in 1981, and is now supporting 16 hatcheries that have recently mushroomed as backyard operations. These hatcheries are the answer to the fry shortage outcry a few years back, and are indispensible to the growing milkfish sea cage industry today.

The legacy of diversified aquaculture. AQD no longer limited itself to tiger shrimp and milkfish. It has diversified as the aquaculture industry has diversified. Through scientific research, new technologies on hatchery and grow-out were developed for abalone, mudcrab, freshwater prawn, bighead carp, tilapia, grouper, snapper, seabass, rabbitfish, and seaweeds. The offering of a wide range of commodities is because sites can be very specific. One technology or commodity will not work for all sites. Conditions may be different, people's skills may be different, or the market demand may be different. But AQD is prepared to make its aquaculture technologies suitable to investors, small-scale, medium-scale, or big-scale; in freshwater, brackishwater, or in marine waters.

The legacy of scientific research. AQD technologies are backed by scientific research, by peer-reviewed papers in science journals. There are more papers published for mature technologies. Milkfish for instance has 160 papers in science journals, with the first paper published in 1976 and the latest in 2006. Mudcrab, an emerging technology, has 40 journal papers, most of which were published after 2000.

It is not just the numbers, with AQD having nearly 900 research papers published. It is also the quality, with more than 100 of these papers having been cited for best research.

The legacy of skilled manpower or skilled womanpower for Southeast Asia. Since AQD started offering its first training course on brackishwater aquaculture in 1975, it has trained more than 7,000 people from more than 20 countries in 68 kinds of training course topics. Most trainees have gone on to positions of responsibility in their home countries, and they represent their respective countries in SEAFDEC-hosted regional meetings and consultations. They attribute their aquaculture skills to AQD.

The legacy of fishfarmer-friendly materials, of information dissemination to support technology transfer efforts. AQD endeavors not to cater to the scientific community alone. It does not want to be considered an ivory tower of purely intellectual wisdom. AQD hence labors to write and publish how-to manuals and books that fishfarmers and other stakeholders can use as field references. Over 35 years, there have been over 200 farmer-friendly publications, at least 700 newsletters, and 32 videos. All of AQD's recent materials are also available through the website, including the library collection which is reputed to be the best collection of aquaculture materials in Southeast Asia.

The legacy of responsible aquaculture and fisheries. The SEAFDEC family, including the four Departments in the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, has regionalized the Codes of Conduct for: aquaculture & mangrove ecosystems, fishing operations, fisheries management & co-management, and postharvest & trade. SEAFDEC endeavors to have these adopted by stakeholders of the aquaculture and fisheries industries, and turned into law by SEAFDEC member-countries. Meanwhile, AQD's own aquatic ecology program has been up and running since 2006.

Dr. Toledo articulated two more legacies that he wants his generation of AQD researchers to leave in the future. The first is the legacy of a systematic and institutionalized technology transfer mechanism backed by scientific research. He said he aims for substantive results of AQD's two new technology demonstration programs. The first program is for people's cooperatives, their local government units, and NGO partners under the ICD-SA program or the Institutional capacity development for sustainable aquaculture program. The second program is for entrepreneurs under an ABOT Negosyo or Agree-build-operate-transfer Aquabusiness. The technical assistance provided is from project planning to actual operation up to project evaluation. For the ABOT, the SEAFDEC Secretary-General Dr. Siri Ekmarahaj has given the green light for AQD to expand it to all the member-countries of SEAFDEC.

The second is the legacy of publishing research findings in science journals as the prime movers for technology development and innovation. This ensures that AQD's research will continue to be available to SEAFDEC member-countries in perpetuity.

Dr. Hiroshi Ogata : ordinary people are AQD’s bosses

SEAFDEC/AQD's Deputy Department Chief, Dr. Hiroshi Ogata, a Japanese national, considers himself the representative of "Japanese experts who have exerted themselves sincerely for the development of AQD in the last 35 years" but who are, unfortunately, not able to attend the July 11 anniversary ceremony at AQD's main station in Tigbauan, Iloilo, Philippines.

"I am also proud that the Government of Japan and the Japanese experts have been part of the institutional advancement of AQD and technology development of tropical aquaculture together with you, distinguished AQD staff. In addition, I wish to express our sincere thanks to you all, for your Filipino hospitality and friendliness that have been given to Japanese experts and their families for the last 35 years.

"As you are aware, Japan's Official Development Assistance mechanism, specifically rendered to SEAFDEC had shifted from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through JICA to the Trust Fund of the Fisheries Agency which started in 1998. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Fisheries Agency have been providing technical and financial assistance to the development of aquaculture in the region, because they recognized the important role of aquaculture for the stable supply of food for the people not only in the region but also in the world. Since 1998 until now, SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department has accomplished 7 programs, of which 3 programs are still ongoing under the Japanese Trust Fund in collaboration with other SEAFDEC member countries. A number of useful findings and information have been accumulated by AQD through the implementation of the programs.

"Here, to represent Japan, and I would like to extend my highest appreciation to all who have actively participated in the implementation of the programs. I expect and hope that tangible results and accomplishments from the Japanese Trust Fund Programs can be appreciated by the end user.

"This year, AQD proposed 4 new Trust Fund Programs for 2010 and onward, aimed at promoting sustainable and responsible aquaculture and resource enhancement. Although the Fisheries Agency of Japan still have a hard time finding funds, I strongly hope that the Japanese Trust Fund Programs will continue to enable AQD to achieve the new goals and the strategic plans that were proposed and adopted this year.

"Personally, I started my career as a scientist 35 years ago. Today, I am somewhat emotional, because the 35th AQD anniversary reminds me where I was, what I was doing and what I was thinking 35 years ago. Although I had known AQD's activities since early 1980's through its publications in various international journals, my first chance of working here started in October, 2001. What I was so impressed about when I first came here is that AQD is a comprehensive organization, a professional family with the capability of implementing research & development, verification, dissemination and training for aquaculture in Southeast Asia. This may be not a special thing to you, but in Japan we have Research Institute of Aquaculture but, we don't have comprehensive organizations such as AQD And I want to emphasize that it is the individual and organizational capacity of our AQD that is evaluated internationally, being comprehensive and systematic is one of the Department's fortes, I would say.

"I also would like to mention another forte of AQD, that is, the technologies developed by the Department are based on science. Our science is not pure science but applied science or industrial science which is closely related to our existence and lives. As you know, we are now facing many issues such as climate change or price increases. Although in a sense, technology development based on science might have brought about the crisis of global warming, I think that we have to demonstrate that science also can contribute to a better world. We, applied scientists, can directly fight the issues and contribute to the solution through our science for our next generation. I think this is a wonderful thing. I am reassured by knowing that development and promotion of science-based technologies is one of the new goals of SEAFDEC/AQD.

"I urge AQD employees not to forget that as a staff of a public organization, we should recognize that we are public servants for ordinary people, because our salary comes not from the Government but from the ordinary people, who are our customers -- the ordinary people who is our boss -- ordinary people. The public support by ordinary people is essential in the subsistence of public organizations. I understand that concern for customer and the commitment to the localities are good traditions of AQD. Do not forget these things -- concern for ordinary people and the commitment to the localities, as long as AQD exists. I hope SEAFDEC/AQD will continue and move forward in reaching its new goals and mandates at the same time holding your good traditions together with ordinary people. Continue giving people a bright future and hope by your science and by your activities. I also wish that we could enjoy the 100th anniversary of SEAFDEC/AQD although not from here, but from the higher place."

"Best wishes for continued development, success, and happiness."

DA-BFAR expresses support for SEAFDEC/AQD

"The Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources join the chorus of exultant voices in congratulating SEAFDEC's Aquaculture Department for chalking up 35 years of solid and meaningful contributions to the cause of sustainable development and responsible stewardship of aquaculture resources in Southeast Asia," Atty. Malcolm Sarmiento, BFAR Director, said in his written message to AQD employees.

"It says a lot about the stature, reputation and credibility of SEAFDEC/AQD that people from different cultures have taken time off from their busy schedules and traveled from near and far to express their collective appreciation and gratitude for the way this venerable institution has successfully elevated aquaculture research, training, technology transfer and information dissemination into a vital cog of food security and poverty eradication programs in the region.

"The impact of SEAFDEC/AQD on the growth and development of the aquaculture industry cannot be overemphasized. During the last 35 years, it has pioneered in the development of various aquaculture technologies, the most notable of which include the seed production of the tiger prawn or sugpo; the breeding and production of milkfish; and, of late, the farming of commercially important aquaculture commodities such as abalone, mud crab, freshwater prawn, grouper, snapper, sea bass, rabbit fish, seaweeds and other freshwater fishes.

"For all of us who live in the so-called biodiversity hotspots where resources for capture fisheries have been seriously impaired by a deathly mix of abuse and misuse, it is providential that SEAFDEC/AQD has come to the rescue in the form of science-based technologies that have resulted in rapid increases in aquaculture production – increases that have somehow made up for the steady decline in the contribution of the commercial and municipal fisheries subsectors to the national fish production effort.

"The Philippine government has long recognized the thrust of SEAFDEC/AQD on harnessing research and extension for poverty alleviation and livelihood generation complements the long-term objectives of the Department of Agriculture and that of our agency, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. It is for this reason that DA-BFAR has seen it fit to partner with SEAFDEC/AQD in the implementation of various production-enhancement and capacity-building activities. The most recent of these collaborations include the national abalone breeding and culture program, fish health management through training and collaborative research; aquaculture biotechnology program; dissemination and adoption of milkfish aquaculture technology in the Philippines; and, joint mission for accelerated nationwide techno-transfer program.

"The good news is that by resolving to work together, DA-BFAR and SEAFDEC/AQD have managed to craft model schemes that facilitate coordination and cooperation, and in the process, enable both parties to extract the best conservation benefits from production-enhancement ideas that take into account the imperatives of sustainable and responsible aquaculture development.

"We are thus happy to note that in its effort to remain competitive and relevant in the face of "increasing scarcity of resources available to it," SEAFDEC/AQD is gearing up to assume a more active role in technology transfer and verification but not at the expense of its primary mandate of research and technology innovation. We agree that no cap should be imposed on technology generation since the future holds great and demanding challenges that will require proactive research programs and directions.

"In its 35 years of existence, SEAFDEC/AQD has gifted this part of the world with dynamic and trailblazing ideas that have removed the dangers, threats and uncertainties in production-oriented aquaculture projects.

"We wish it well in its desire to leave behind a stronger legacy of stronger aquaculture development through programs and projects that will enable the countries in the Region to maximize their vast aquaculture potentials without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

Dr. Alcala bats for establishment of more marine protected areas

Marine protected areas (MPAs) could not only give fishers increased catch, but could also be an ecotourism destination.

This is the gist of the talk given by Dr. Angel Alcala, director of the Silliman University Angelo King Center for Research and Environmental Management. Dr. Alcada gave the 2008 Dean Domiciano K. Villaluz Memorial Lecture on Marine ecological research for resource management last July 8, 2008 at the Tigbauan Main Station of SEAFDEC/AQD in Iloilo, Philippines.

The MPA concept: 20-30% of the total marine reserve is designated as a "no-take-zone," which means that fishing within this area is prohibited. The remaining 70-80% area may be used for fishing using non-destructive gear, such as hook and line.

By giving fish a protected habitat, they are given more opportunities to grow into bigger sizes and breed. This in turn creates a "spillover effect," wherein fish migrate onto the non-protected area of the reserve. Dr. Alcala noted that with protection, catch could reach 15-20 tons of fish per square kilometer; compared with just 5-10 tons without protected areas.

This setup has had its share of success stories, most notably the Apo Island and Sumilon marine reserves. According to Dr. Alcala, ecotourism receipts reach about $700,000 per year. In addition, around 150,000 coastal fishers have benefited from the spillover, which resulted to increased fish catch of about 10% per year. The concept of no-take reserves has also been adopted by other countries. The Shedd Museum in Chicago has in fact showcased the Apo Island model of coral reef conservation.

The successful implementation is the result of more than 20 years of research and monitoring, community-based coastal resource management (CBCRM), and support from local government units (LGUs), national agencies and NGOs. He noted that CBCRM is a relatively slow process, but if done right, could result to sustained management. He also stated that MPAs work under the situation where LGUs are also involved in its management.

Still, a lot of catching up has to be done: only 20% of MPAs in the Philippines is functional; the rest exist mainly on paper, according to Dr. Alcala.

What are the policy/program implications? Dr. Alcala cited the need to (1) establish more MPAs to conserve biodiversity and combat climate change; (2) conduct coastal resource management training activities; (3) establish deep-water reserves; and (4) strengthen the capacity of LGUs for CRM.

Dr. Alcala closed his lecture with a quote from Edward O. Wilson, a noted writer: "at the end of the day, in a more democratic world, it will be the ethics and desires of the people, not their leaders, who give power to government and the NGOs or take it away. They will decide if there are to be more or fewer reserves, and choose whether a particular species will live or die."

Dr. Alcala was the former Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. He was the recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service in 1992.

The Dean Domiciano K. Villaluz Memorial Lecture is being held every year to honor Dean Villaluz, who was SEAFDEC/AQD's first chief from 1973-1979.

AQD teams up with Red Cross for blood donation drive

There was blood shed on July 8, 2008, but for a good cause.

By donating about 30 minutes of their time and a glass of their blood, AQD personnel and their kin did their part in saving lives by ensuring that those in need could avail of this precious fluid.

In cooperation with the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), the bloodletting activity was held at the Conference Room at AQD's Tigbauan Main Station in Iloilo, Philippines.

Dr. Dennise Roy Pasadilla of PNRC gave a pep talk prior to the donation, wherein he explained the procedures and the benefits of blood donation. Among the requirements: the donor – a healthy male or female – must weigh at least 110 lbs (50 kg); must be 18-60 years old (although regular donors can keep giving blood until age 65); and must have a minimum acceptable hemoglobin of 12.5% for females and 13.5% for males as determined by the PNRC's medical technologist. After further screening and blood typing, the donors then proceeded to have their blood taken.

In the end, 35 bags of blood were collected from 35 donors, who each shed about a glass (around 230 cc) of their blood.

Saving lives and celebrating its 35th anniversary, AQD is committed to strengthening the legacy of responsible aquaculture in Southeast Asia.

AQD holds six international training courses

AQD has scheduled practically all of its international training courses in the second quarter of the year, incidentally coinciding with the onset of the breeding season of most tropical species. Six courses have been organized and completed.

The first one was titled "Grouper hatchery training course for the Philippines." Held 7 to 25 April at AQD's main station and in a private grouper hatchery in Iloilo, the course was a collaboration among NACA, ACIAR and AQD. Fifteen Filipinos attended, coming from the Panay provinces, Palawan, Zamboanga, and Tawi-tawi.

The second one was a "Training course on mangrove ecology, taxonomy and community structure" that run from 30 April to 4 May. It was conducted by AQD in collaboration with RESCOPAR, a mainly Wageningen University-funded program (The Netherlands). Twenty-five attended, with trainees coming from Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

The third course was on "Seaweeds (Kappaphycus) farming" which was conducted 5-9 May with six attending, from the United Arab Emirates and the Philippines.

The fourth was the international training course on "Abalone hatchery and grow-out" held 7-27 May. The nine participants came from Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Oman, and the Philippines.

The fifth course was on "Marine fish hatchery" organized from 20 May to 25 June with nine in attendance. The trainees came from France, Myanmar, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, and Philippines.

The sixth training course was on "Crab seed production" that opened on 10 June (until 1 July). Four attended, from Myanmar, the USA and Philippines.

AQD FishWorld joins deep sea survey-expedition

AQD FishWorld curator Dr. Teodora Bagarinao joined an expedition dubbed LUMIWAN 2008 that surveyed deep-sea benthic fauna of the South China Sea. The expedition team, aboard the research vessel MV DA-BFAR left Manila on March 22 and made it back April 2 after going to 68 sampling stations off Mindoro and Palawan.

The expedition was conducted by the Museum national d'Histoire naturelle of Paris, the Smithsonian Institution of Washington DC, DA-BFAR, and the University of San Carlos. Other than Dr. Bagarinao, museum scientists from France, USA, New Caledonia, Taiwan, Russia, Singapore, and WorldFish were on-board.

German student conducts thesis at AQD

Ms. Karin Isabela Kühn conducted her Master's degree thesis at AQD from February to April 2008. She is a student of Agricultural Biology at Hohenheim University, Stuttgart, Germany. She compared the growth performance and survival of the giant freshwater prawn in cages relying solely on natural food and those fed with commercially formulated feeds. She also conducted digestibility studies of commercial feeds in prawns using titanium dioxide as digestibility marker.

Her work at AQD was supervised by AQD scientist Dr. Ma. Lourdes Aralar while her supervisors in Germany are Prof. Dr. Klaus Becker and Dr. Ulfert Focken.

AQD and fisherfolk explore the concept of resource management

Under its regional stock enhancement program (socioeconomics component), AQD organized information and planning seminars with and for the program's target community (Brgy. Molocaboc) in Sagay, Negros Occidental in west central Philippines.

The first topic was on the biology of abalone and giant clam to prompt better appreciation of marine resources; this was conducted 13 March and attended by 39 fishers, gleaners, local government officers, Bantay Dagat personnel (local sea patrol) and Sagay Marine Reserve (SMR) staff.

The second topic was on ecotourism, conducted 13 May and attended by 47 people.

The third, a Participatory Action Plan Development, was on 14 May with 41 people in attendance. This activity came up with a community resource map, priority list of problems and corresponding solutions relevant to Sagay fisheries and the collaborative stock enhancement initiatives among AQD, SMR and the local government.

The stock enhancement program is funded by the Government of Japan Trust Fund.

AQD exhibits on food security

The Philippines is known as the fiesta islands, and AQD joined five exhibitions which have been timed to coincide with town festivals. In each activity, AQD showcased aquaculture technologies that can improve livelihood for food security.

The Bicol Trade Fair held April 13-19
was organized by the Metro Naga Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the City Government of Naga. It introduced the Bicolanos and their visitors to trade and investment opportunities in the province.

The Sinigayan Agri-Fair was from March 14-17 in Sagay City. Among the guests who visited AQD's booth were Department of Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap and Congressional Representative Julio Ledesma IV with his wife-actress Assunta de Rossi.

The Semana sang Iloilo (or Iloilo Week) Agri-Fair was held April 8-11 at the Capitol Grounds in Iloilo City. AQD likewise participated in the Capiz Farmer's Day organized by the Provincial Government of Capiz last April 14 in Roxas City. AQD also joined the one-town-one-product trade fair organized by the Rizal local government units and the Department of Trade & Industry that ran from 12-15 June in a shopping mall in Taytay, Rizal.

Shrimp farmers in the Philippines go for the Pacific white shrimp

Thirty-eight (38) grow-out farms and seven (7) accredited hatcheries might not seem a lot, but their very existence signals the Philippines' entry into white shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei aquaculture.

Foreign and local experts speaking during the 6th Philippine Shrimp Congress held 28-30 May 2008 in Bacolod City, south of the Philippine capital of Manila, have agreed on how to ensure success in white shrimp culture:

1. the use of specific-pathogen free (SPF) or specific-pathogen resistant (SPR) broodstock and "high-health" fry. Importations of SPF or SPR broodstock will only be from government-approved sources. At the moment, only 10 facilities in the U.S.A. are accredited, all pre-cleared or certified by the Oceanic Institute or the United States Marine Shrimp Farming Program Consortium. On the other hand, hatcheries producing "high-health" fry from these imported broodstock would have to seek accreditation from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR). Accreditation is contingent upon water treatment (incoming and effluent water), physical isolation, aeration, and sanitation & disinfection facilities and practices.

2. the use of best management practices (BMPs) in grow-out farms which means:

  • provision of settling & treatment ponds, filtration system & reservoirs
  • the use of probiotics (several products are commercially available and usually made-up of Bacillus spp.);
  • installation of biosecurity measures, including tire bath at farm entrance, footbath & hand disinfection at the pond entrance, nets & high-density polyethylene liners as crab fence, bird scaring devices, individual paraphernalia for each pond, and hygiene facilities for farm personnel
  • continuous monitoring of shrimp stock for disease symptoms. BFAR and other institutions like SEAFDEC/AQD have disease diagnostic laboratories where shrimp farmers can send shrimp samples
  • Grow-out farms also need to get certification from BFAR prior to their operation.
3. the marketing of the right size of shrimp demanded by consumers, and compliance by producers, processors & exporters to regulations on food safety (e.g. HACCP), traceability, environmental and social components (e.g. fair trade)

The road to white shrimp in the Philippines has been long and paved with controversies. Prior to January 2007, the government banned the importation of L. vannamei (it is not native to the country) amidst fears of exotic disease agents that would ride on the white shrimp.

White shrimp culture in other countries is not problem-free. It has been hit by viruses -- i.e., WSSV, taura syndrome virus, yellowhead virus, gill-associated virus, infectious hypodermal & hematopoietic necrosis virus, and infectious myonecrosis virus – and bacteria (necrotizing hepatopancreatitis).

But the private sector, through the Fisheries and Aquaculture Board, lobbied for the lifting of the ban because shrimp farmers found tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) culture extremely difficult, as they have been forced to live with white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) among other diseases. Some losses have been devastating.

It's too early for the Philippines to appear on the white shrimp radar. The biggest producing countries are Thailand, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Ecuador and Brazil. Since white shrimp was first introduced to Asia from Ecuador in 2000, production has jumped 1,000% to nearly 1.6 million metric tons in 2005. In contrast, tiger shrimp only increased 15% in the same period. Shrimp production is now dominated by white shrimp (78%) and most (74%) are produced in Asia.

The need for research and development

Speaking at the Shrimp Congress, Philippine Senator Edgardo J. Angara called for an intensified research and development (R&D) effort to help boost the country's shrimp industry.

"Following the collapse of shrimp farming in the last decade due to the unsustainable practices and diseases, we realize now more than ever the need to beef up efforts at developing technologies and practices that will ensure the sustainability of the industry. I believe that potential problems in the shrimp industry can be prevented and by strengthening our R&D efforts," said Angara, who also chairs the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food.

He added, "Traditional farming methods no longer suffice. An export-oriented industry such as this requires more technology-intensive practices. Therefore, we must provide massive training and skills development for local shrimp growers and fishers, as well as their children. We will improve farming productivity if we are able to adopt modern technology and produce competent technical manpower."

Angara also sees four major solutions in achieving long-term viability and productivity of the Philippine shrimp industry, enumerating among others: the need to tap existing pond resources, introduction of cost-effective and environment-friendly farming practices, adoption of a sound biosecurity program and to genetically improve shrimp species especially the tiger shrimp.

"If we strengthen research and development in the country, shrimp industry's output and productivity will definitely improve as investment in R&D has the highest economic return of all economic activities," he said.

The Shrimp Congress was organized by PHILSHRIMP Inc. with the support of DA-BFAR, DOST Region VI, SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department, Negros Prawn Producers & Marketing Cooperative Inc, and the World Aquaculture Society.

The industry sponsors are Cruz Aqua / Epicore / Kona, Merck, Hoc-Po Feeds, Santeh Feeds, Schering-Plough. Spectrum International, Inve, BNH Marketing, Cargill, Feedmix, Novus, B-Meg, Yama Water Inc, CP, Bayer Animal Health / Genereach, Biostadt, and 2Go-Aboitiz.

AQD’s researcher bags best paper award

Congratulations are in order for AQD's Ms. Eleonor Tendencia as she garners a prestigious award for her published paper.

Entitled Polyculture of green mussels, brown mussels and oysters with shrimp control luminous bacterial disease in a simulated culture system, the paper was selected as the Best Published Paper in Aquaculture/Inland Fisheries by the Dr. Elvira O. Tan Memorial Awards for 2008.

Ms. Tendencia will be honored during the Science Community's celebration of the National Science and Technology Week on July 18, 2008 at the D.L. Umali Auditorium College, Laguna, Philippines.

Ms. Tendencia is a Scientist at AQD. She is a PhD candidate of Aquaculture and Fisheries of Wageningen University, The Netherlands.

Read this award-winning paper in the journal Aquaculture 272:188-191.

AQD launches new publications during 35th anniversary

Hot off the press: four new SEAFDEC/AQD publications for sale.

These, plus new flyers, an institutional video, and a compendium of SEAFDEC-developed technologies will be unveiled July 9th at Tigbauan, Iloilo during the book launching program.

The four aquaculture extension manuals are: (1) the second edition of The biology of mud crabs Scylla spp. ET Quinitio and FDP Estepa; (2) Abalone hatchery by AC Fermin, MR dela Peña, RSJ Gapasin, MB Teruel, SMB Ursua, VC Encena II and NC Bayona; (3) Breeding and seed production of the Asian catfish Clarias macrocephalus by JDT Fermin, AC Fermin, RF Bombeo, AD Evangelista, MR Catacutan and CB Santiago; and (4) Grow-out culture of the Asian catfish Clarias macrocephalus by EB Coniza, MR Catacutan and JDT Fermin.

Also to be launched are the AQD Highlights (annual report); the AQD Magic video; the flyers for Abalone culture, ABOT AquaNegosyo, SEAFDEC/AQD and Institutional capacity Development for Sustainable Aquaculture (ICD-SA); the DVD compendium; and reports on the Research output of the Fisheries Sector Program and the Tangab fishing gear.

The launching is one of the activities lined up for the 35th anniversary of SEAFDEC/AQD.

SEAFDEC Council reappoints AQD Chief Dr. JD Toledo for second term

An Ilonggo from Oton, Iloilo gets the nod from President Gloria Arroyo to continue leading the world-class research center in aquaculture that has main offices in Tigbauan, Iloilo. Dr. Joebert D. Toledo is Chief of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) – Aquaculture Department (AQD) for a second two-year term, April 2008 until April 2010.

This was recently announced in Bali, Indonesia where the SEAFDEC Council, the highest policy-making body of the Center, accepted and approved President Arroyo’s endorsement of Dr. Toledo.

Dr. Toledo, 47 years old, is married to Nieves Aquino-Toledo, a faculty member of the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences of the University of the Philippines Visayas, Miag-ao, Iloilo. They have four children.

Dr. Toledo graduated from Oton National High School, obtained his B.S. in Fisheries degree from the University of the Philippines Diliman, and both his Masters in Science in Aquaculture and Doctorate in Agriculture in Applied Biological Science from the University of Hiroshima, Japan. He was previously seconded as Marine Fish Seed Production Expert to the Department of Fisheries of Brunei Darussalam.

Dr. JD Toledo’s first term

April 2006 was the first time AQD got a Chief who rose from the ranks. Dr. Toledo was first employed as research assistant in 1981 and became Scientist II in 2002. His status as a Department insider for 23 years made it easy for him to define and implement a vision of a streamlined organization capable of addressing the needs of the aquaculture industry for science-based technologies.Dr. Toledo’s first act was to bring back 22 researchers and other senior staff who mass-resigned in the middle of 2004. To carry out AQD’s programs, his management team first reviewed the technologies developed by AQD then identified gaps for further research and verification, and made plans for technology transfer.

Efforts in fund sourcing have also been done to improve AQD’s overall financial standing, which includes continuing collaboration with research partners. AQD was successful in tapping provincial and local government units to fund an Institutional Capacity Development for Sustainable Aquaculture (ICD-SA) project. ICD-SA aims to build the capacities of aquatic resource users by providing them knowledge and skills to become responsible resources managers and users. Arrangements were made with various stakeholder groups (i.e., government agencies, LGUs, international organizations, private companies, private foundations) to make this dream project a reality. Now on-board are the provinces of Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Northern Samar, and Misamis Occidental while talks are ongoing with the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Cagayan, Aurora, and Mindoro Occidental.

AQD institutionalized its technology transfer mechanism for the private sector while continuing to demonstrate technologies for people’s cooperatives and local governments. The private sector was offered the Agree-build-operate-transfer aquaculture business packages (ABOT AquaNegosyo), with abalone, mudcrab, grouper, milkfish, seabass, native catfish, bighead carp, tilapia, freshwater prawn, and seaweeds as priority commodities.AQD signed 17 new formal agreements with various partners for the implementation of its projects. Also notable is that for the first time, the mariculture park at the Igang Marine Station was opened up for the use of the private sector and a people’s cooperative.Also in 2007, around 80 research studies and technology generation projects were approved, some with external funding provided by the Government of Japan Trust Fund, ASEAN, Kagoshima University and Fisheries Research Agency in Japan, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, UP Visayas, DOST, and various private companies.

SEAFDEC is a regional treaty organization established in 1967 to promote fisheries development in Southeast Asia. Its member-countries are ASEAN + Japan. For more information, visit

AQD at fairs and exhibits

Bicol trade fair

AQD made its presence known in Region V during the fourth year of the Bicol trade fair, organized by the Metro Naga Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) and the City Government of Naga.

The activity, held last April 13-19 in Plaza Quezon and Plaza Rizal, Naga, Camarines Sur, was conducted to introduce the local folk (and visitors to Bicol), to trade and investment opportunities in the province.

The fair included consumer goods, real estate and tourism booths.

AQD was invited as the organizers felt that the aquaculture technologies it has developed can offer new opportunities to Bicolano entrepreneurs who may have very little knowledge of what AQD is, the new programs (ABOT and ICDSA) and services it can provide and what it has done in other regions in the Philippines.

Several of the booth visitors inquired about training programs (mostly on-site training), the ABOT AquaNegosyo, as well as the ICDSA programs of SEAFDEC. The trade fair was also a good opportunity to disseminate information regarding AQD's training and technology packages.

Sinigayan Agri-Fair

The first-ever Sinigayan Agri-Fair was one of the main attractions during the celebration of Sagay City's Sinigayan Festival, and AQD took part in the occasion.

The event ran from March 14-17 and was held at the city public plaza.

Among the guests who graced the festival were Department of Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, who was the guest of honor and speaker during the opening program, Negros Occidental 1st District Rep. Julio Ledesma IV and his wife, actress Assunta de Rossi.

AQD set up a booth, where P3,630 worth of information materials were bought. Visitors also snapped-up free information brochures and flyers.

Semana sang Iloilo

Kultura kag turismo: padulong sa mainuswagon nga pala-abuton was the theme for the 107th celebration of the Semana sang Iloilo last April 8-11.

The four-day event, held at the Capitol Grounds in Iloilo City, was jam-packed with activities, including an agro-industrial fair, exhibit, foodfests, street dancing, fora, and a pageant search for Lin-ay sang Probinsya 2008.

AQD took part in the activity by putting up a booth displaying free flyers and entertaining queries from walk-in clients.