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.