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.

A who’s-who of AQD visitors

AQD never seems to run out of visitors, which is always a good thing. Both local and foreign guests were welcomed at AQD for the months of February and March.

PDAP group

A group of 28 persons from Sitangkai, Tawi-Tawi made their way to AQD last February 21-22. The group was composed of coordinators and out-of-school youth (OSY) under the SPE3 (Sitangkai Seaweed Productivity Enhancement through Education & Extension) project of the Philippine Development Assistance Programme, Inc. (PDAP). This one-year program is dedicated to improving the knowledge, skills and attitudes of the OSY seaweed farmers. The program enrolled 110 OSYs, who are trained to become trainers/extension workers to the other 330 targeted OSYs in the nearby area, with the goal of reducing poverty through increased seaweed quality and productivity. Out of these 110 OSYs, 24 were brought by the coordinators to AQD to visit the hatcheries and the Dumangas and Igang stations. In addition to a discussion with Dr. Anicia Hurtado of AQD's Seaweed Strain Improvement Program, they also had an overview of abalone and seahorse culture with Ms. Shelah Mae Buen-Ursua. The coordinators were Mr. Alfred Allaga, Program Officer SPE3, Ms. Evangeline Faburada, Program Officer (Sitangkai Seaweed Industry) and Mr. Alexander Benedicto, Training Assistant.

NACA Officials

Last February 26-28, Mr. Sim Sih Yang of the Marine Finfish Aquaculture Program of the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA) in Thailand visited AQD along with Mr.Bambang Hanggono of the Brackishwater Aquaculture Development Center in Indonesia and Mr. Samart Detsathit, Fisheries Biologist of the Krabi Coastal Fisheries R&D Center of the Department of Fisheries in Thailand. The officials visited the different laboratory and hatchery facilities at TMS, IMS, DBS and other nearby hatcheries.

Malaysian visitors

Mr. John Brian Payne, Senior Technical Advisor from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)-Malaysia toured AQD with his son, Adam Payne last March 3-6. They had a meeting/consultation with the Chief and the Division heads, and visited the different laboratories and hatcheries at TMS, DBS and IMS. They also visited nearby hatcheries. Their main interest was in grouper culture.

MOAP Officials

Messrs. Samson Napigkit, Nicandro Lagas, Manolito Yap, Tito Piloton and Gil Caliso of the Misamis Occidental Aquamarine Park (MOAP) dropped by AQD last February 19-22. They met with AQD Chief Dr. Joebert Toledo, division heads and project leaders to know more about recent technologies, with emphasis on grouper culture. They also visited AQD's hatcheries/facilities at TMS, DBS and IMS to see the brackishwater ponds and cage culture facilities. The group also visited some private hatcheries near the area.

Hatchery training for the Philippines

Grouper aquaculturists were hopefully all the wiser after 19 days of training during the Grouper hatchery training for the Philippines.

Conducted from April 7-25 at AQD's Tigbauan Main Station, the training covered both lectures and hands-on practical sessions. The trainees were put through their paces in areas such as biology of grouper; site selection; hatchery design and construction; broodstock management and spawning; production of natural food; disease diagnosis; fish health management; larval and nursery rearing; fish nutrition; and grading of fry and fingerlings. Special topics on cage design and culture of marine fish and business planning, marketing management and economic indicators were likewise discussed.

The training was fully funded by the Australia Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). The Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA) was the coordinating agency. Mr. Barney Smith of ACIAR and Mr. Sih Yang Sim of NACA dropped by during the training.

The 15 trainees were Mr. Stephen Abamo, Mr. Reynaldo Acap, Mr. John Aloria, Ms. Bernabe Aquino, Mr. Reynaldo Benson, Ms. Arlyn Carroz, Ms. Minvilu Casido, Mr. Primo Ebesate, Mr. Alan Failaman, Mr. Arnel Gabasa, Ms. Tina Marie Hautea, Mr. Jovert Javier, Mr. Oliven Lagua, Mr. Tito Piloton, and Ms. Ma. Caroline Tejero. There were five (5) observers from the private sector including one from LGU Aklan.

Reg’l workshop on aquatic animal health

Dr. Gilda Lio-Po, head of AQD's Fish Health Section, presented a paper on the development of fish disease surveillance system during the Regional workshop on aquatic animal health held in Bangkok, Thailand from March 25-28.

The workshop was organized by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA).

The participants were welcomed by Dr. Fujita, OIE Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, Professor Sena De Silva, Director General of NACA, and Dr. Supranee Chinabut, Adviser on Fish Health, Thailand's Department of Fisheries.

The four-day activity featured technical sessions on a wide range of topics, including the economic impact of aquatic animal diseases; an introduction to OIE standards for aquatic animal health; the World Animal Health Information Database (WAHID) and World Animal Health Information System (WAHIS); and important crustacean and fish diseases. Aquatic animal health situationers were also presented by representatives from Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, , Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, and Vietnam.

In addition, practical sessions were also held, with topics on immediate notification and follow-up reports, preparation of six-monthly and annual reports, and hands-on training on WAHIS.

Bountiful fish harvests

Dumarao, Capiz

The fourth and last session of the Season-long training course on freshwater aquaculture, which tackled harvest and post-harvest handling, ended with, appropriately enough, the harvest of catfish, tilapia and freshwater prawn.

The activity, held last March 31-April 1 in Brgy. Tamulalod, Dumarao, Capiz, saw the members of Dumarao Fish Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (DFFMPC) listen to lectures and perform hands-on harvest of their stocks.

Ms. Rose Mueda of UP Visayas handled the lectures, which dealt with proper handling and icing of aquatic products, preparation of materials for value addition, marketing techniques and the requirements in the establishment of fish processing ventures.

To date, a total of around 197 kilos of tilapia, 41 kilos of catfish, and 3.2 kilos of ulang – sold at P100, P110, and P200 per kilo, respectively – have been harvested from four cages, with supervision from AQD's Ms. Kaylin Corre, head of Training Section and Mr. Rosenio Pagador, Senior Training Assistant.

In the closing ceremonies, Mr. Renato Agbayani, Head of the Training and Information Division, advised the beneficiaries to re-invest and roll-over the revenue until the project is big enough so that the members could partake of the fruits of their labor. He also added that a second round of production, to be led by Dr. Josefa Fermin, Scientist at AQD, is being planned to give the beneficiaries a better grasp of the technology.

Mr. Virgilio Hapitan, DFFMPC chair, said that the project had benefited them by reducing poverty and unemployment in their area; in addition, they were able to utilize the natural resources in their area. He noted, however, that the project was not without challenges: he had to deal with the "behavior" of certain members. In spite of this, Mr. Hapitan learned a thing or two from the experience: "No is not really a no, and this can be changed into a yes, and that negative can be changed into positive." He also learned the importance of setting a good example as a leader, which includes always looking out for the welfare of the members. He recounted that the cooperative has plans of holding other income-generating activities.

Dumarao Mayor Leslie Warren Benjamin, for his part expressed his gratitude for the conduct of the training, which gave the people technical knowledge and skills in growing fish and crustaceans. He was also on hand to distribute certificates of training to 31 trainees and certificates of attendance to 19 others.

Capiz Provincial Agriculturist Ms. Sylvia dela Cruz and her staff were also present during the event.

The training course was implemented under the Institutional Capacity Development for Sustainable Aquaculture or ICD-SA, which has the main goal of empowering aquatic resource users by providing them knowledge to become efficient managers and prudent users of their resources.

Tibiao, Antique

April 16 wasn't such a bad day for the administrators, faculty and students of the Polytechnic State College of Antique-Tario Lim Campus, Tibiao, Antique.

After all, they were able to harvest not less than 100 kilos of hybrid catfish, with around four catfish per kilo. Culture took 5-6 months, with survival rate of 85 percent.

In addition to observing the harvest, AQD's Dr. Josefa Fermin and Ms. Kaylin Corre also took the opportunity to discuss with Dr. Victor Navarra, PSCA president, PSCA-Tario Lim Campus Administrator Dr. Armando Cabrillos, and Dr. Romeo Caturao on future activities and training sessions.

Training courses on Freshwater Aquaculture, and Research Methodology will be conducted in May and June 2008, respectively, to be funded by PSCA.

Igang, Guimaras

Once upon a time (August 2007), beneficiaries of the Petron-funded milkfish cage culture project stocked milkfish fingerlings at AQD's Igang Marine Station.

Since then, four harvests have been conducted, with the last one done March 18. A total of about 9,207 kilos of milkfish have since been reaped. Average body weight was around half a kilo per fish.

Sure, there were hitches: the FCR could've been lower, which could have resulted to higher sales, but with a survival rate of 97%, who's complaining?

It was a rewarding fishy-tale ending after almost seven months of hard work and season-long training sessions for those involved, but the payoff was worth it.

While the beneficiaries could crow about the bountiful harvest, another thing's for certain: the fish did not live happily ever after.

Info seminar in Sagay City

Giant clam and abalone, how do Sagay City fishers appreciate thee?

Let us count the ways: First, the fishers attended AQD's information seminar, which discussed the biology of the two species stocked in Carbin reef.

Second, they participated in the management and conservation of the clams and abalone by vowing not to extract these molluscs from the protected site.

The activity was held in Molocaboc Island last March 13. This was in response to fisherfolks' request that surfaced in last year's validation meeting. The November 30 meeting was part of the activities of the study Socio-economic analysis of stock enhancement of abalone and giant clams in Sagay Marine Reserve.

AQD's Mr. Ramil Piloton and Ms. Ellen Flor Solis conducted the seminar on the appreciation and biology of giant clams and abalone. Dr. Nerissa Salayo gave updates on the project on stock enhancement; this was followed by an open forum moderated by Dr. Salayo and Ms. Dianne Hope Tormon.

The speakers made it clear to the participants that these species should not be extracted from the reef, and that it takes several years for them to mature and spawn. (Giant clams are actually protected from extraction under the Fisheries Code).

The information seminar was not only attended by fishers of Sagay, but also by different stakeholders (41 fishers, all barangay officials, 2 patrol staff of SMR, 1 social development worker-SMR, 1 abalone trader).

The information seminar ended with an eye opener on the part of fishers on the feasibility of ecotourism on areas where stock enhancement is taking place. Furthermore, they requested an ecotourism seminar for next time.