Human resource development training course in Indonesia

 Participants of the on-site HRD training courses on Inland fisheries development and Rural aquaculture AQD provided technical support during the conduct of the Human resource development (HRD) training on catfish culture held in Boyolali Regency, Central Java, Indonesia last October 20-24.

The training is part of the HRD on-site training course on rural aquaculture organized by the Indonesian Departmen Kelautan dan Perikanan (Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries) under the HRD on poverty alleviation and food security by fisheries intervention in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Region. It is funded by the Japan-ASEAN Solidarity Fund of the ASEAN Foundation.

AQD Scientist Dr. Ma. Lourdes Aralar and Associate Researcher Ms. Antonietta Evangelista were on hand to provide support and observe the conduct of the training.

Fifteen trainees attended two HRD courses which were conducted at that time: Inland fisheries development and Rural aquaculture. These courses focused on the seed production and grow-out of the Dumbo catfish, respectively.

The site for the inland fisheries development training course is the Kampung Benih Lele (Catfish Seed Village), a few kilometers from the Kampung Lele (Catfish Village) where Dr. Aralar and Ms. Evangelista were assigned.

According to Dr. Aralar and Ms. Evangelista, Catfish Village is already well-versed in catfish culture but they still need training on nutrition, feed formulation, and disease management.

The farmers in Catfish Village harvest 8 to 11 tons of catfish daily within an aggregate pond area of 21 hectares. Individual ponds are small (ranging in size from 20 to 60 sq. m) and achieve a feed conversion rate (FCR) of 0.8 to 1 using commercial feeds with a stocking density of 300 to 500 pcs/sq. m.

On the last day, Ms. Evangelista was requested to deliver a lecture on natural food which was given in plenary with both groups of trainees in attendance. Ms Evangelista’s lecture was given in English but translation to Bahasa Indonesia was provided.

AQD wins 2009 AFMA best paper award

Ms. MRJ Luhan (2nd from right) receives the award  from (L-R) BAR Director Nicomedes Eleazar, IRRI Operations and Support Services Deputy Director General Dr. William Padolina; and DA Assistant Secretary Preceles Manzo A paper by AQD Researcher Ms. Maria Rovilla Luhan and Technical Assistant Ms. Hannaniah Sollesta was awarded by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) as the AFMA (Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act) Best Paper (basic research category) during the 21st National research symposium last October 9 at the Bureau of Soils and Water Management Building in Diliman, Quezon City.

Their paper was entitled Growing the reproductive cells (carpospores) of the seaweed, Kappaphycus striatum, in the laboratory until outplanting in the field and maturation to tetrasporophyte.

Present to award the winners were Mr. Nicomedes Eleazar, BAR Director; Dr. William Padolina, chair of the Agriculture and Food Panel Congressional Commission on Science and Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) and deputy director general for Operations and Support Services of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI); and Department of Agriculture (DA) Assistant Secretary for Policy and Planning Mr. Preceles H. Manzo.

In the same event, AQD Associate Scientist Dr. Nerissa Salayo, who co-authored the paper of Dr. Yolanda Garcia (University of the Philippines Los Baños) won the AFMA Best R&D Paper (socioeconomics category) with their study entitled The role of infrastructure developments on market price formation of major aquaculture species in the Philippines.

AQD welcomes new SEAFDEC Secretary-General

From left: AQD Chief Dr. Joebert Toledo gives a tour of AQD facilities to SEAFDEC Secretary-General Dr. Chumnarn Pongsri and Mr. Somnuk Pornpatimakorn The new SEAFDEC Secretary General Dr. Chumnarn Pongsri visited AQD last October 16-17 to familiarize himself with AQD’s programs, facilities, and personnel.

Dr. Pongsri replaced Dr. Siri Ekmaharaj who completed his four-year term as SEAFDEC Secretary-General last September 30. Prior to his nomination, Dr. Pongsri served as an Expert in Ecology at the Department of Fisheries (Thailand).

Travelling with Dr. Pongsri was Mr. Somnuk Pornpatimakorn, Administration and Finance coordinator of SEAFDEC.

AQD Chief Dr. Joebert Toledo toured Dr. Pongsri and Mr. Pornpatimakorn around the facilities in Tigbauan Main Station (TMS) and Dumangas Brackishwater Station (DBS) and introduced them to the study leaders and heads of various offices.

In a speech to AQD staff, Dr. Pongsri shared his views on the sustainable development of aquaculture in the Southeast Asian region and his appreciation for what AQD has achieved during its “very, very long history.”

Dr. Pongsri also stressed that the value and potential of AQD does not lie only in its facilities but more importantly on its human resources.

“The value of the facility itself is high already, but the value of the human resources here is even higher. With your ability, with your expertise, AQD can have a very strong progress in the future in targeting many new challenges, many new species, a lot of activities, a lot of achievements.”

In closing, Dr. Toledo added that he and Dr. Pongsri “have plenty of work to do,” but they are also faced with a shortage in funds.

“We will be discussing how to attract funds by working together, making concept papers, and helping each other in reaching out to various donors,” Dr. Toledo added.

AQD at PTAC, ISEP meetings

AQD participated in two meetings last October, which addressed research-and-development, administration & finance, and information-related concerns.

AQD Chief Dr. JD Toledo (right) with Dr. Jonathan Dickson (left), Head of BFAR’s Capture Fisheries Division,  and Dr. Carlos Baylon (middle), Dean of the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of the Philippines Visayas, during the PTAC meetingPTAC meeting. The Management Committee of AQD and senior representatives of relevant Philippine Government institutions (Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources/Department of Agriculture, University of the Philippines Visayas, Department of Budget and Management, Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Bureau of Agricultural Research) gathered together last October 15 at the Philippine Social Science Center (PSSC) Building, Diliman, Quezon City for the 19th Meeting of the Philippine Technical Administrative Committee (PTAC).

PTAC comprises the high level representatives of relevant Philippine Government agencies and is tasked to provide close coordination between the host government and SEAFDEC with regard to the operation of AQD.

This year’s PTAC meeting was convened with the following objectives: (i) to review the status of accomplishments of AQD in 2009 (R&D programs and administration and finance) and plans for 2010, for endorsement to the SEAFDEC Program Committee; and (ii) to discuss the pressing issues and matters that concern the present and future operations of AQD and its relations with the Philippine Government.

PTAC noted the progress of AQD’s R&D activities in 2009 and endorsed its 2010 planned activities, including AQD’s proposed budget for 2010-2012. The Committee also noted and approved the Operation and Management Guidelines prepared by AQD for the use of the Laboratory Facilities for Advanced Aquaculture Technologies.

ISEP meeting. The 10th meeting of the SEAFDEC Information Staff Exchange Program (ISEP) was held in Ayutthaya Province, Thailand last October 12 to 14.

AQD’s Development Communication Section Head Ms. Milagros Castaños and Information Assistant Mr. Rommel Guarin represented AQD in the meeting which was also attended by the SEAFDEC Secretary-General, Deputy Secretary-General, Senior Officials of the SEAFDEC Secretariat and Training Department, as well as information officers and staff from other SEAFDEC departments.

Among the items discussed during the meeting is the opportunity for AQD researchers to publish their journal articles in the Fish for the People magazine after rewriting them in layman’s language. This is hoped to address the demand for an external newsletter by AQD.

Additionally, the AQD website’s home page will be available in the languages of member countries next year with the help of information officers from the other SEAFDEC departments.

Participants during the 10th SEAFDEC Information Staff Exchange Program (ISEP)Guidelines on the fair-use of SEAFDEC information materials by member and non-member countries will also be drafted to address the concern raised by AQD regarding the unauthorized translation and publication of one of its manuals.
A better system for AQD’s online and distance learning courses is also hoped once the Secretariat finds the funding. The new system will have an improved interface and better content, complete with short teaching videos.

The 11th ISEP will be hosted by AQD next year in close coordination with the SEAFDEC secretariat.

AQD presents UNITAR project results in Japan

AQD Associate Scientist Dr. Nerissa Salayo presented the results of the UNITAR-Bannai Small Grants project at the Training workshop series on sea and human security: Towards a comprehensive security for seas and oceans: The Hiroshima initiative organized by United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and held last Sept. 27 to Oct. 2 in Hiroshima, Japan.

Dir. Felix Mendoza of the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region V was with Dr. Salayo to present the results of two UNITAR-funded workshops held earlier this year in Masbate City and Culasi, Antique.

Dr. Nerissa Salayo (sitting, 2nd from right) is one of the participants at the sixth session on Governance Towards a Comprehensive Security for Seas and the Ocean: The Hiroshima InitiativeThe two workshops aimed to identify environmental, socioeconomic and sociopolitical problems relevant to the seas and human security in their locality.

The UNITAR panel commended the practical application of the project activities and its linkage to the integrated coastal management being promoted by the UNITAR.

After presenting the project results, Dr. Salayo and Dir. Mendoza discussed the next steps with UNITAR staff and participated as well in work group discussions, lectures, and study visits.

AQD participates in PAEDA convention

The 47th Biennial Convention of the Philippine Agricultural Economics and Development Association (PAEDA) was held last October 22-23 at the Bureau of Soils and Water Management Convention Hall, in Quezon City.

Training and Information Division Head Mr. Renato Agbayani, Senior Technical Assistant Mr. Vincent Encena II, and Associate Scientist Dr. Nerissa Salayo presented papers in the fisheries and aquaculture sessions.

Mr. RF Agbayani presenting his paper during the 47th Biennial Convention of the Philippine Agricultural Economics & Development AssociationMr. Agbayani presented a paper on the Institutionalization of public-private partnership on dissemination of information in aquaculture: SEAFDEC experience.

Mr. Encena’s paper was entitled R&D success and challenges in high-value fish food production to sustain food and livelihoods in the Philippines and Southeast Asian region: the case of abalone.

Lastly, the paper of Dr. Salayo was on Markets, stakeholder paradigm shift and development issues in small-scale fisheries in the Philippines.

The theme of this year’s PAEDA convention is Reshaping institutions and accelerating economic reforms for a more competitive Philippine agriculture in the 21st century.

The PAEDA Board of Directors are looking forward to the involvement of AQD in the 48th convention, which they hope to hold in the Visayas next year.

AQD joins AgriLink, Pinoy Aquatic Fair

To showcase its science-based technologies, publications, training programs, and other services, AQD participated in two fairs last September and October.

Centerpiece of the trade fair featuring aquaria with freshwater and marine species provided by AQD and private aquaculture farmsAgrilink/Foodlink/Aqualink.
Taking part in the “most influential trade fair on agriculture, food and aquaculture,” AQD set up its booth to showcase its expertise, technologies, and information materials during the Agrilink/Foodlink/Aqualink 2009 which was held at the World Trade Center-Metro Manila in Pasay City last October 8-10.

Binangonan Freshwater Station (BFS) and Manila Office (MO) staff took turns in manning the booth, providing free consultation, and distributing AQD publications to the numerous exhibit guests.

The centerpiece of the Foodlink/Agrlink/Aqualink exhibit were aquaria containing freshwater and marine aquatic species provided by AQD and private aquaculture farms. The AQD booth on the other hand had an aquarium containing freshwater prawns and flasks with freshwater algae. A large LCD monitor was used to play various AQD institutional and instructional videos.

Dr. MLC Aralar (rightmost) giving consultations to guests at the AQD boothWith the large number of guests, AQD earned more than 45 thousand pesos in book sales with the manuals on tilapia and abalone hatchery topping the list as bestsellers. Free flyers and institutional reports were also given.

A growing demand was also noted for information materials on milkfish grow-out, grouper, siganids, marine fish hatchery, and feeds & feeding.

Upon the request of Agrilink organizers, Associate Researcher Mr. Ruel Eguia gave a seminar on the business prospects of koi breeding and farming while Scientist Dr. Ma. Lourdes Aralar gave two lectures on freshwater prawn farming and white shrimp farming. MO Head Ms. Grace Garcia also served as technical resource person for the Aqualink Special Setting.

This year’s Agrilink, Foodlink, and Aqualink revolved around the theme Sustainable food production: focus on the Filipino market and was organized by the Foundation for Resource Linkage and Development Inc.

2nd Pinoy Aquatic Fair. In another fair, AQD was given an award for having the best aquatic technology (private sector) during the 2nd Pinoy Aquatic Fair held last September 18-20 at the AANI Herbal Garden and Livelihood Center in Quezon City.

The fair was a project of the Agri Aqua Network International Inc (AANI) in collaboration with Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR), the private fishing industry, Aquaria Manila, REEF Philippines, Philippine Game Fishing Foundation, Quezon City LGU, and the Quezon Memorial Circle administration.

Training courses for Negros LGUs, Guimaras fisherfolk

Local government personnel and fisherfolk from Negros Occidental and Guimaras, respectively, benefited from AQD training courses conducted last October. The training courses focused on two economically important aquaculture commodities, namely abalone and milkfish.

Abalone training for Negros
DSC00188 Four LGU staff from the Southern Negros Coastal Development Management Council (SNCDMC) underwent a 12-day Special training course on abalone hatchery and grow-out from October 5-16.

While the trainees attended comprehensive lectures on abalone biology, aquaculture, feeding, and economics, the bulk of the training focused on actual hatchery and grow-out operations in AQD’s Tigbauan Main Station (TMS) and Igang Marine Station (IMS). The group also visited a private abalone hatchery in Oton which was established using AQD technology.

SNCDMC is an alliance of three LGUs namely Sipalay City, and the municipalities of Cauayan and Hinoba-an in Negros Occidental.

The training course is part of SNCDMC’s Livelihood diversification program for Southern Negros which involves the establishment of abalone farms in Sipalay City and Hinoba-an as well as seaweed farming and pen culture of mud crabs in mangroves in Cauayan.

More training courses for SNCDMC is in the pipeline with an on-site training course on seaweeds farming slated next month and more in 2010.

Training on milkfish for Guimaras fisherfolk
The training participants observe a demonstration on milkfish deboning The second phase of the Season-long training course on milkfish cage culture, which is implemented in four barangays in Nueva Valencia, Guimaras is part of a collaborative pilot project on Mariculture livelihood program for Guimaras fisherfolk between AQD, Petron Foundation Inc, and Citi Philippines. Two training sessions were held last October.

Brgy. San Antonio. Fisherfolk from Brgy. San Antonio attended their last training module on Fish health management, business planning, financial analysis, and cooperatives development and management last October 8 to 9 at Roma Beach Resort in the said barangay.

On the first day, a lecture on business planning and management was given by Training and Information Division Head Mr. Renato Agbayani while Scientist Dr. Edgar Amar gave a talk and a demonstration on disease diagnosis, prevention, and control.

On the second day, Igang Marine Station Head Mr. Albert Gaitan lectured on cage operation and maintenance, Senior Technical Assistant Ms. Dianne Hope Tormon on financial analysis, and lastly, Researcher Ms. Didi Baticados lectured on the development and management of cooperatives.

Dr. Edgar Amar (leftmost) demonstrates on the disease diagnosis. Right: Fisherfolk  take turns glancing into a microscopeBrgys. Igang, Magamay, and Sto. Domingo. Meanwhile, the last training module, Post-harvest and marketing of milkfish, for Brgys. Igang, Magamay, and Sto. Domingo was held last October 26-27 at the Nueva Valencia National High School.

Eighty-eight participants from the three barangays were treated with lectures which were given by Ms. Rose Mueda, a researcher from the University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV) Institute of Fish Processing Technology (IFPT).

Ms. Mueda also facilitated the practicals with the help of Ms. Rosana Alama and Ms. Nida Momblan, who were laboratory assistants also from IFPT.

Among the topics covered were product development, value added products from aquaculture, product formulation, proper handling and icing, and market potential and marketing strategies.

During practical sessions, trainees eagerly observed demonstrations on milkfish deboning before trying it out themselves.

They also prepared three marinade solutions (hamonado, lamayo, and adobo) where they soaked their deboned fish. Their finished products were served for lunch on the second day.

Before closing the training session, the materials used in preparing the marinades were also turned-over to the different fisherfolk organizations from the three barangays in order to jumpstart their fish processing venture.

Visitors from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

Visitors from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia with RD Head Dr. EG Ayson (standing, 2nd from left), Chief Dr. JD Toledo (standing, 4th from left), and Dr. RV Pakingking (standing, 5th from left) Eleven visitors from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) dropped by AQD last October 19-21 to tour the different facilities and explore possible fields for research collaboration.

The group was composed of 2 professors and 9 graduate and undergraduate students from the Faculty of Biosciences and Engineering of UTM led by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Fahrul Zaman Huyop.

On their first day, the visitors were toured by AQD Scientist Dr. Rolando Pakingking around the different facilities in TMS. They also met with AQD Chief Dr. Joebert Toledo and Research Division (RD) Head Dr. Evelyn Grace Ayson in the afternoon to discuss possible future research collaborations and the possibility of coming up with an agreement between AQD and UTM.

Upon the invitation of Dr. Ayson, the group held an informal poster exhibit at the RD lobby the next day which allowed the UTM students to interact with AQD staff.

On the last day of their academic tour, the group visited AQD’s Dumangas Brackishwater Station (DBS) in the morning and presented three research papers in the afternoon. Dr. Huyop’s paper was on the Use of 3-chloropropionic acid dehalogenase gene as selection marker for Escherichia coli. Mr. Salehhuddin Hamdan discussed the Effect of effective microorganisms on catfish aquculture, while Mr. Azzmer Azzar Abdul Hamid’s paper was on the Identification of Pseudomonas sp. strain S3 using polymerase chain reaction.

AQD employees pitch in for typhoon victims

AQD employees sort out donations before turning them over to GMA FoundationBFS Admin Asst. Ms Vivian Jatulan (leftmost) turns-over two sacks of goods to the representatives of the Pipindan Parish Mini Pastoral Council for distribution in their barangayResponding to the plight of victims displaced by floods caused by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng in Luzon, the AQD community immediately pitched in by donating cash and clothes.

At AQD’s Tigbauan Main Station, the Journal Club was able to gather 4 large boxes and 3 sacks of clothing which were turned over to the GMA Foundation last October 6 along with P10,550 in cash.

Residents of Brgy. Pipindan, Binangonan, the host barangay of AQD’s Binangonan Freshwater Station (BFS), were also very thankful for two sacks of goods turned over by the station to the Pipindan Parish Mini Pastoral Council which supervised its distribution. BFS has also previously turned over relief goods to Brgy. Captain Hoseas Montevilla.

Other AQD employees based in Luzon also personally extended help to the typhoon victims which included some of their colleagues.

Back-to-back typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng, which ravaged the provinces in Luzon late September and early October, caused widespread flooding that displaced more than 6 million people in the Philippines.

Microcystis-busting algae found

Ms. Khrista Maria Evangelista garners first place for her research report at the 2009 Division Science Quiz Fair Ms. Khrista Maria Evangelista, a 3rd year high school student of Rizal National Science High School in Binangonan, Rizal and daughter of AQD Associate Researcher Ms. Antonietta Evangelista, found an algal species that can inhibit the proliferation of Microcystis by 50-83%.

Microcystis is an algae that secretes the microcystin toxin which is fatal to fish. It blooms seasonally on certain months in Laguna de Bay.

For this, Khrista garnered first place (Life Science Individual Cluster II) with her research report The biological control of the bloom-forming cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa using Ankistrodesmus falcatus: a preliminary study during the 2009 Division Science Quiz Fair (Region IV-A, Division of Rizal) last September 18.

Khrista thanks AQD Scientist Dr. Gilda Lio-Po “whose brilliant ideas and suggestions” led to the conceptualization of her study.

AQD assists in HRD training in Lao PDR

Participants of the HRD on-site training course on rural aquacultureLao PDR played host to the first session of the Human resources development (HRD) on-site training course on rural aquaculture from September 1 to 7.

The training, aimed to build the capacity of farmers in rural aquaculture to improve their livelihood and alleviate poverty, was conducted in the Nalao clusters of PhonHong District, Vientiane Province.

AQD Scientist Dr. Maria Rowena Eguia and Training and Information Division Head Mr. Renato Agbayani provided technical and logistical support during the training, which was coordinated by Ms. Nouhak Liepvisay and Mr. Akhane Phomsouvanh of the Lao PDR Department of Livestock and Fisheries (DLF). The training gave Ms. Liepvisay the opportunity to share the skills and knowledge she acquired as one of the participants in the Training of trainers on HRD held at AQD last November 10-19, 2008. 

The first leg of the training focused on freshwater aquaculture, particularly in tilapia and integrated fish farming/polyculture. Topics discussed during the seven-day activity included site selection; cage/pond design and construction; water and fish health management; seed production, nursery and grow-out techniques for tilapia and other freshwater species; feeds and feeding; and costs-and-returns analysis. Also scheduled were field demonstrations and visits to the Agricultural Development and Service Center, the fish processing areas in Vang Vieng, and the farm site of one of the trainees.

The trainees found the training generally satisfactory. According to Dr. Eguia, the training was a work-in-progress, with a flexible schedule where topics varied depending on the needs and demands expressed by the trainees.

The training in Lao PDR was the first in a series of 8 sessions, with one each to be conducted in 8 SEAFDEC member-countries.

The training series is being implemented by SEAFDEC as a center-wide project under the HRD on poverty alleviation and food security by fisheries intervention in the ASEAN region. It is funded by the Japan-ASEAN Solidarity Fund of the ASEAN Foundation.

Dignitaries from Saudi Arabia visit AQD

Clockwise from lower left: Mr. Baheej Mohammad Rasem, Dr. Anwar Eissa Al-Sunaiher, and Dr. Felix Ayson discuss with RD head Dr. Evelyn Grace Ayson, TID head Mr. Renato Agbayani, AQD Chief Dr. Joebert Toledo and Deputy Chief Dr. Teruo Azuma about future collaborations between AQD and FFC Dr. Anwar Eissa Al-Sunaiher, Aquaculture Department Director of the Ministry of Agriculture of Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA); Mr. Baheej Mohammad Rasem, Fish Farming Center (FFC) Director of Jeddah, KSA were at AQD’s Tigbauan Main Station (TMS) last August 3-7.

Dr. Al-Sunaiher and Mr. Baheej were accompanied by Dr. Felix Ayson, a former AQD scientist and currently the Chief Technical Adviser of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. They visited AQD to learn about its various research programs and to see its research facilities.

On their first day at TMS, they were briefed about AQD’s research activities by Research Division Head Dr. Evelyn Grace Ayson. Specialists on AQD’s research programs, namely Dr. Mae Catacutan (Nutrition and feed development),
Dr. Gilda Lio-Po (Fish health), Dr. Relicardo Coloso (Marine fish), Dr. Fe Dolores Estepa (Mud crab and shrimp domestication), and Ms. Ma. Rovilla Luhan (Seaweed strain improvement) were also present during the meeting.
After the briefing, they were toured to the hatcheries and laboratories.

Senior technician Ms. Bernardita Eullaran shows off the milkfsh larvae raised at AQD’s integrated hatchery The next day, the visitors met with AQD’s top management to discuss future collaborations between AQD and FFC. After which, they visited the AQD library and were briefed about its collections and operation.

They also toured AQD’s Dumangas Brackishwater Station and Igang Marine Station during their visit. In addition, they met with Technology Verification and Demonstration Division and Training and Information Division officials headed by Dr. Clarissa Marte and Mr. Renato Agbayani, respectively to have an overview of their activities.

AQD scientist honored by Japan

Dr. Lebata-Ramos is the recipient of the Japan international award for young agricultural researchers for 2009 AQD scientist Dr. Junemie Hazel Lebata-Ramos was honored by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF) as a recipient of its 2009 Japan International Award for Young Agricultural Researchers.

The award-winning research work of Dr. Ramos was on Stock enhancement of commercially important and threatened marine invertebrates (such as mud crab, abalone, giant clam, and angelwing clam) in tropical areas.

MAFF began the award program in 2007 to recognize the contribution of young agricultural researchers to technological development for the improvement of food security and the environment in developing countries.

Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS) supports this program and offers financial
incentive to the winners.

The awarding ceremony will be on November 4 at the University of Tokyo, Japan.

Misamis Occidental gears up for mariculture after grouper spawning

Mariculture Industry Development Plan of Misamis OccidentalGrouper broodstock in Misamis Occidental successfully spawned after two months of conditioning, jumpstarting the development of the mariculture industry in the province.

The broodstock were conditioned for two months in a hatchery at the Misamis Occidental Aquamarine Park (MOAP) before finally producing 15 million eggs last August and another 22 million eggs in September.

With the volume of eggs, MOAP hatchery manager Tito Piloton says they are already having trouble finding space for all the grouper larvae produced from the spawned eggs.

The P8.8-million hatchery features two 160-ton broodstock tanks, eight 15-ton larval tanks, twelve 15-ton natural food tanks, a 135-ton reservoir, and a generator.

It was completed December last year through the collaboration of the Australian government through the Philippine-Australia Local Sustainability (PALS) Program, the Misamis Occidental Provincial Government, and the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC).

SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department Chief Dr. Joebert Toledo explained that the spawning is a very good development for Misamis Occidental because “grouper broodstock spawn year-round” providing a stable and accessible supply of grouper seed which will be needed by fish cage farmers.

SEAFDEC has been optimizing the breeding and hatchery of grouper since 1989 and is now providing the technical support, technology, and supervision for the MOAP hatchery.

With the projected growth in hatchery production, MOAP manager Manoling Yap hopes to construct additional larval rearing tanks for the hatchery, a feed mill, and eventually also set up mariculture cages in Panguil Bay.

A portion of the hatchery showing the algal tanksMisamis Occidental Governor Loreto Leo Ocampos is pushing for the farming of grouper in floating sea cages. To date, a corporation, owned by 4 multi-purpose cooperatives and an NGO, has set up 32 nursery cages and 16 grow-out cages off the town of Panaon and a cooperative has 4 nursery and 3 grow-out cages off the town of Sincaban.

Grouper (Epinephelus sp.) is locally known as lapu-lapu, which is a highly valued marine fish with great demands both in the local and international markets.

Aside from grouper, the MOAP hatchery is also projected to produce milkfish, tilapia, catfish, mud crabs, and seaweed. The seed will then be used to supply fishponds and fish cages in Panguil Bay, Murcilleagus Bay, and coastal coves around the province.

The MOAP project aims to create direct and indirect employment for coastal fish farmers, promote aquaculture; and help the province become a major provider of agri-aqua products in Northern Mindanao through equitable coastal resources management and sustainable aquaculture development.

Milkfish cage culture training in Guimaras

The Season-long training course on milkfish cage culture, which is implemented in four barangays in Nueva Valencia, Guimaras continues to make significant progress. The training course is part of a collaborative pilot project on Mariculture livelihood program for Guimaras fisherfolks between AQD, Petron Foundation Inc, and Citi Philippines.

Dr. Mae Catacutan (rightmost) demonstrates aquafeed formulation during the practical sessionBrgy. San Antonio advances to Module 2. Thirty fisherfolk from Brgy. San Antonio advanced to Module 2. The training, which was held last August 13-14  at Roma Beach Resort, covered topics on stock sampling, feed and feeding practices, and cage maintenance.

AQD scientists Dr. Mae Catacutan and Dr. Relicardo Coloso were the resource persons for aquafeed preparation and feed & feeding practices respectively.

IMS staff Mr. Alex Babol on the other hand was the resource person for stock sampling and cage maintenance.

Igang, Magamay and Sto. Domingo move on to Module 3. Meanwhile, a total of 92 participants from the barangays of Igang, Magamay and Sto. Domingo advanced to Module 3.

The training took place at the Nueva Valencia Municipal Gymnasium from September 24 to 25.

During the practical session, Dr. Amar (rightmost) shows the participants how to prepare and send fish samples to the laboratory for disease analysisThe trainees learned about aquaculture business planning and sustainable management from Mr. Renato Agbayani, Head of AQD’s Training and Information Division. Scientist Dr. Edgar Amar then lectured on fish disease management, followed by a practical session on how to prepare and send fish samples to the laboratory for disease analysis. 

On the second day, Igang Marine Station Head Mr. Albert Gaitan talked about cage culture design. He also discussed the factors to consider in cage setup, and the advantages and limitations of rearing fish in cages.

Financial analysis in aquaculture was tackled by Senior Technical Assistant Ms. Dianne  Hope Tormon. The trainees learned concepts such as return-on-investment and break-even production and how to analyze these to determine the profitability of the project.

Researcher Ms. Didi Baticados discussed the development and management of cooperatives for sustainable aquaculture. She stressed that the success of the organization depends on the cooperation among the members.

A survey on business organizations and arrangements for managing a fish cage culture project was conducted by Ms. Tormon after the lectures.

AQD holds strategic planning meeting

AQD Chief Dr. Joebert Toledo and Deputy Chief Dr. Teruo Azuma during the review and planning meetingAQD senior staff actively take part in the meetingAQD senior staff gathered for the Review and planning meeting from September 16 to 18 held at AQD’s Tigbauan Main Station.

The objectives of the meeting were to (1) review the progress of activities implemented in 2009 and ensure that these are within the agreed strategic objectives for 2012; (2) discuss planned activities for 2010 and assess any changes to AQD’s strategic plan; and (3) ensure harmonization and complementation of activities among the four AQD divisions.
AQD Chief Dr. Joebert Toledo gave his opening remarks and presented AQD’s new vision and mission. He also stated that for 2010, the SEAFDEC Council has advised AQD to slowly change its approach from being commodity-based to a thematic one.

Presented during the 3-day activity were the accomplishments and plans of AQD’s departmental programs (marine fish, crustaceans, molluscs, seaweeds, small-holder freshwater aquaculture, and aquatic ecology), regional programs (stock enhancement, fish disease surveillance, and sustainable aquaculture), other R&D activities (ABOT AquaNegosyo, ICD-SA, training & information) and administration & finance (budgeting & accounting, human resources management, support services). An open forum followed each session to discuss issues, problems and recommendations. Some of these concerns included climate change, reducing pollution, upgrading of AQD infrastructure, intellectual property rights (IPR), and internal auditing protocols.

Dr. Toledo closed the meeting by saying that AQD remains steadfast in its goal to develop science-based aquaculture technologies. He urged everyone to “move forward, and create the change that we desire. Let’s do it!”

Abalone symposium, dialogue in Thailand

Senior Technical Assistant Mr. Vincent Encena II presented the country technical report on The Philippine abalone industry: status, research and aquaculture potential at the 7th International abalone symposium held in Pattaya, Thailand from July 19 to 24.

The symposium brought together scientists, growers, suppliers, buyers, distributors, managers, regulators and policy/decision makers who are interested in abalone fisheries and aquaculture.  

Other countries which presented reports on their abalone industries included Australia, Chile, China, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Thailand and the United States.

Mr. Encena discusses the Philippine abalone industry during the symposiumTopics on pathology & diseases; fisheries & ecology management; genetics & biotechnology; biology & physiology; larval biology; and nutrition & biochemistry were also tackled.

The symposium participants also toured the Sichang Marine Science Research and Training Station’s abalone hatchery in Koh Sichang under the management of Chulalongkorn University.

Mr. Encena also participated in the World Wildlife Fund-Abalone Aquaculture Dialogue (WWF-AAD), which was held last July 25-26. The WWF-AAD is a series of meetings geared towards developing global environmental standards for farmed abalone. Mr. Encena volunteered to be a steering committee member of WWF-AAD. In addition, he represents the Philippines in the International Abalone Society (IAS).

Discussion on impact assessment methodologies

Dr. Aralar (seated, 3rd from left) together with workshop participants from PCAMRD and University of the Philippines Los Baños Scientist Dr. Ma. Lourdes Aralar participated in the Roundtable discussion on impact assessment methodologies in the fisheries sector from September 9-10 at PCAMRD (Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development), Los Baños, Laguna.

After the two-day discussion, the participants came up with a protocol on impact assessment, including the steps and methodologies in the aquatic and marine resources sector; and programs & activities in the fisheries sector ready for impact assessment evaluation.

Among the programs prioritized for impact assessment include the National seaweed R&D program, the UNDP‐GAINEX (United Nations Development Programme–Gain Export) program on milkfish, and the Genetic selection for salinity tolerant tilapia through hybridization. The Fisheries school-on-the-air, as well as the PCAMRD graduate research fellowship program, will also be evaluated. PCAMRD will fund the impact assessment of completed programs.

AQD joins two fairs

The AQD booth was visited by former Philippine President Fidel Ramos (2nd from right), here with AQD staff

AQD participated in two fairs last August to showcase its science-based technologies, publications, training programs, and other services.

MAMARE. AQD joined the Manila Aqua Marine and Aquatic Resources Exposition (MAMARE) organized by Lotty Events Management and Agri-Aqua Network International Inc. It was held at the World Trade Center, Metro Manila last August 20-23 with the theme Sustaining the Philippines as the crown jewel of marine biodiversity in the entire planet.

The AQD booth was visited by no less than former President Fidel Ramos.

AQD’s technical resource persons during this 4-day event were Dr. Ma. Lourdes Aralar, Dr. Ma. Rowena Eguia, Dr. Nerissa Salayo, Engr. Emiliano Aralar, Mr. Albert Gaitan, Ms. Grace Garcia, Mr. Ruel Eguia, Ms. Antonietta Evangelista, and Mr. Manuel Laron. Other AQD employees who helped during the exhibit were Dr. Luis Maria Garcia, Ms. Elma Africa, Ms. Diane Deauna, Mr. Edison Pineda, Mr. Nelson de la Cruz, and Mr. Emerson Rivera.

On the third day, Mr. Gaitan presented a seminar on Marine fish breeding, hatchery, and nursery operations.

MAMARE was organized for the benefit of the ABS-CBN Foundation Bantay Kalikasan and Pola, Oriental Mindoro (which is known to be the center of marine biodiversity).

AQD at the DOST Region 6 Visayas Science and Technology FairDOST Visayas S&T fair. AQD participated in the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Region 6 Visayas Science and Technology Fair with the theme Responding to global challenges through science and technology last August 17-22 at SM City Bacolod.

The event aimed to promote public awareness on the critical role of science and technology (S&T) in national development.

New flyers from AQD

Twelve new flyers, hot off the press, showcase AQD’s various products and services, as well as technology profiles of some aquaculture commodities. These flyers are freely downloadable from the AQD website at

  • AQD officials & commodity contact persons, a bookmark-type publication
  • AQD laboratory services, on various diagnostic services and rates
  • Hatchery seedstock, information on AQD’s hatchery seedstock, details on prices and payment of various seedstock for sale
  • Aquaculture training, contains schedules, fees, contact information on AQD’s training programs, including internships and on-the-job training
  • Backyard hatchery, a 4-page flyer on the abalone and marine fish small-scale hatchery situated at AQD’s Tigbauan Main Station
  • Seed production of bighead carp, includes basic information on the breeding and larval rearing of the bighead carp Aristichthyis nobilis
  • Twelve new flyers from AQDGrow-out production of bighead carp, on the grow-out culture of A. nobilis
  • Seed production of giant freshwater prawn, on the broodstock, larval rearing and nursery of the giant freshwater prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii
  • Grow-out production of giant freshwater prawn, information on the grow-out culture of M. rosenbergii in ponds and cages
  • Hatchery & nursery of grouper, contains technology profiles and techniques in the hatchery and nursery of the grouper Epinephelus spp.
  • Grow-out culture of grouper, information on site selection and culture techniques in the grow-out of Epinephelus spp.
  • Mud crab culture, includes site selection, culture conditions and methods, and financial indicators on the pond culture of the mud crab Scylla serrata

Typhoon Ondoy affects AQD’s Binangonan station

BFS catfish cages situated in Laguna Lake before (left) and after Ondoy Typhoon Ondoy (international name: Ketsana), which hit the Philippines last September 24-26, left behind massive damage to lives and properties in its wake. AQD’s Binangonan Freshwater Station (BFS) was not spared of its fury.

Some BFS pens and cages in Laguna Lake were submerged. BFS staff managed to retrieve stocks from the submerged cages and transfer them to tanks. The BFS disaster brigade, headed by Technician Federico Reyes, together with guards of the Carmela Security Agency, helped save 75% of the lake-based stocks. Some that were affected included the catfish stocks of Associate Researcher Ms. Antonietta Evangelista, prawn and tilapia stocks of Scientist Dr. Ma. Lourdes Aralar, and non-experimental carp stocks.

Aside from these, Typhoon Ondoy did not cause as much damage to BFS as Typhoon Milenyo did in 2006.

BFS Head Engr. Aralar talks with the families affected by the typhoon Evacuees find refuge at BFS. The intense rain brought about by Typhoon Ondoy caused massive flooding in the area, displacing many families. Because of this, the Sangguniang Barangay of Pipindan, through Barangay Captain Hoseas Montevilla, requested BFS Head Engr. Emiliano Aralar to let the families use the BFS Dormitory Building as an evacuation center. There are 20 families staying in the dormitory, with a total of 90 persons, including children.

BFS staff brought relief goods (food and clothes) for distribution to the evacuees.

Dr. Clarissa Marte retires from AQD

After almost three decades of service, Dr. Clarissa Marte retires from AQD Dr. Clarissa Marte officially retired from AQD last September 15 after almost three decades of service.

She started working at AQD in 1977 as a Research Associate and eventually rose up the ranks. Among the positions she held during her long and distinguished career included the following: Head of Igang Substation; Supervisor of the Microtechnique Service Laboratory; Project Leader of the Finfish Broodstock Project, Technical Team Member of the National Bangus Breeding Program; and Head of the Breeding Section of the Research Division. She eventually headed two divisions of AQD: the Research Division (1987-1991; 1995-2003) and the Technology Verification and Demonstration Division (2007-2009).

Dr. Marte’s research work has focused on the reproductive endocrinology of marine fishes, particularly that of milkfish. Moreover, she was actively involved in AQD’s implementation of the Coastal Fishery Resources Management (CFRM)Project in Malalison Island in Culasi, Antique. In the process, she has authored and co-authored more that 40 papers published in local and international journals.

AQD Chief Dr. Joebert Toledo paid tribute to Dr. Marte, saying that she was his first boss. He considered Dr. Marte not only as a supervisor, but also a mother. He also remarked that given her experience as a researcher, AQD needs her wisdom and advice. Dr. Toledo expressed hope that she always have a place in her heart for AQD.

In his message, Deputy Chief Dr. Teruo Azuma said that the AQD community has a lot of respect for Dr. Marte. He also said that while he will miss her, he hoped that she could find time to visit AQD.

Training & Information Head Mr. Renato Agbayani reminisced that it was 50 years ago that he first met Dr. Marte when they were still high school students at the University of the Philippines Preparatory School. He also spoke of the time they worked together in Malalison, calling it an experience worth learning. “Mabuhay ka!” said Mr. Agbayani.

Other AQD staff also spoke about their experiences working with Dr. Marte, and they considered her not only as a boss but also as a friend, sister, tennis competitor, and an inspiration to the younger people at AQD.

Dr. Marte thanked everyone for their heartwarming messages and was glad that all of her efforts were appreciated. She also noted that many of those who worked under her have progressed into really good scientists and researchers. She also said that although she has retired, she will still be around for AQD.

As she begins another chapter in her journey, AQD wishes Dr. CLM good luck, godspeed, and all the best in her future endeavors.

WiFi @ AQD

WiFi antenna at the dormitory rooftop To expand AQD’s internet access, a Wireless Fidelity (WiFi) antenna was installed at the rooftop of the Tigbauan Main Station dormitory last July 7.

It has an ideal coverage of 500 m radius.

The purpose of the WiFi installation are to (1) give AQD trainees 24/7 internet access during their stay at AQD and (2) generate income through the offering of prepaid access cards to the AQD community. Subscribers will have internet access from 6 pm to 7 am during weekdays (so as not to hamper with the internet access of AQD offices) and full access during weekends. Fee of the prepaid access will be half of the current internet carriers’ rate.

AQD’s computer network office earlier tested the setup through free internet access tickets valid for July.

The WiFi is a D-link DWL-7700AP that supports a/b/g WiFi technology with a 12-dbi external antenna.

Golden harvest: out-of-school-youth find success in seaweed farming

Youth trainees visit their seaweed farms during a practical examination In an island like Sitangkai, Tawi-Tawi, where bounty from the sea is the source of life, its residents must find the means to sustain their resources, livelihood and ways of survival. It is difficult to do so when forces of nature and diseases brought about by environmental conditions compete with productivity and efficiency. For three pondohans in Sitangkai (Sikulan, Tinambak Lugus, and Sipangkot) whose main source of income is seaweed farming, having the Sitangkai SPE3 (Seaweed Productivity Enhancement through Education and Extension) Project introduced into their communities was the answer they were waiting for.

The SPE3 Project is supported by the Philippine Development Assistance Programme, Inc. (PDAP), a non-stock, non-profit organization which aims to reduce poverty and inequity in the Philippines. PDAP is promoting and developing rural enterprises for poverty reduction as a tool in promoting peace in conflict-affected areas.

In these pondohans (a cluster of communities composed of 35-100 households engaged in seaweed farming), conditions of living are hard, and accessibility to basic needs such as food, potable water, medicine and education are difficult to come by. The parents of most children in the pondohans find it expensive to send them to school, so they are introduced instead to an early life of helping with the family's main source of income, seaweed farming. Most of the children have never gone to school. Others who entered elementary schooling had to stop because of the high cost of transportation. Furthermore, farmers in the pondohans often end up losing in their seaweed farms because of diseases and pests. This leaves the farmers unable to pay for their financial obligations.

And so the SPE3 Project was developed and formally launched on October 27, 2007 to address such issues concerning education and poverty by enhancing the skills of Sitangkai's youth seaweed farmers. They were provided with the latest seaweed farming technology and knowledge to improve productivity in their yield and ensure quality harvests and to later serve as extension workers and trainers for their individual communities in Sitangkai. The project also focused on basic literacy through alternative learning, skills for life (SFL) and life skills for employability (LSE) lessons, arts for creative development and fun, group dynamics and team building, and subjects that concentrate on the development of discipline, values, and good moral character among the youth.

The project started with 130 registered youth trainees from the three project areas on its first month of implementation, with 39 coming from Sikulan, 32 from Tinambak Lugus, and 41 from Sipangkot. These numbers were made up of 15-25-year-olds who were mostly non-literates.

SEAFDEC/AQD Visiting Scientist Dr. Anicia Hurtado provided technical skills training on season-long seaweed productivity improvement. The techniques imparted to the trainees are the results of SEAFDEC/AQD’s decades-long research-and-development on seaweeds.

The first classes were held in improvised classrooms (either in the pondohan leader's house or a makeshift barangay multipurpose hall) because of the lack of educational facilities in the communities. One hundred nine (109) trainees from the first batch were able to graduate from the program with impressive growth and noticeable changes in several areas of their lives.

Mr. Abdul receives his medal for outstanding trainee from PDAP Executive Director Jerry E. Pacturan during the ceremony held last April 23, 2008One of the outstanding turnouts from the first batch was Mr. Julpie Abdul, a core leader of the trainees who was one of the first to implement the new technology he had on his crops. He said that formerly, he could only make 300 lines and these would be in danger of being ruined by pests. With SPE3's intervention, his ideas on how to enhance the productivity of his crops and keep them away from diseases were broadened. Now he is able to make twice, sometimes more, of what he yielded before. In addition to teaching these successful techniques to his peers on the island, he also helped a handful of them to read and write. He later added that he now sees a brighter future for seaweed farmers like himself.

Another story is of Mr. Jarson Jalain, another core leader in Sikulan, who was one of the first enrollees of the project. He wasn’t that cooperative or interested in the lessons at first. With some of the boys, he would make jokes in the classroom and take most of the lessons lightly. During the course of the project, he was able to see the effects that the project was doing for him and his community. He said that with the lack of education in the techniques and methods of farming, most of his crops were spoiled by diseases, resulting to very low yields. But now, with the knowledge he got from SPE3, he was able to increase his yield up to 7000 lines more, whereas he could only make up to 1000 before. Because of his good harvests, he is now happily married. He was able to provide a dowry from his income from seaweeds and support his newly formed family.

But the most surprising result of them all was of Mr. Ummik Sabung, who successfully harvested a total of PhP100,000 from his initial PhP1,000 capital. Ummik, who was the silent one in the group and didn’t always stand out, was able to of carefully implement the additional knowledge taught him. He was able to have enough to buy two small motorized boats, a television set, and is now the primary breadwinner of his family. In an interview, he shared that before the project, he was hardly able to make any good harvests because diseases like “ice-ice” spoiled them. When the SPE3 project came in, he was able to improve his seaweed farming by applying the different techniques and methods he learned. He also added that in the past, he would plant up to 600 lines but due to unavoidable diseases, his production decreased. But today, with the new learnings from SPE3, he was able to avoid, if not totally control, the occurrence of these diseases. This has allowed him to make up to 100 lines more per cropping. Nowadays, Ummik is considered as one of the wealthiest seaweed farmers in his island of Sikulan, and is now a quality seedling provider for other seaweed farmers there.

These three graduates are only a few of those who have success stories to tell of their SPE3 experience. With their newly-acquired skills and technology for their farming, the SPE3 Project beneficiaries were able to improve the rate and amount of their produce and income. The participants also turned out to be more equipped as individuals, with enhanced personal, educational, financial, and social status. The SPE3 Project has truly planted seeds that will continue to grow and bear fruits, ready to harvest anytime in the future. – by Alfred Allaga, SPE3 Project Leader, Philippine Development Assistance Programme, Inc. (PDAP)

Visitors from Angola, Papua New Guinea tour AQD

Guests from Angola and Papua New Guinea paid AQD a visit on two separate dates this July.

From left: AQD Chief Dr. Joebert Toledo, Research Division head Dr. Evelyn Grace Ayson, Dr. Xirimbimbi,  Amb. Reyes, Amb. Fonseca, and Consul General Brechet  at AQD's marine fish hatchery On July 7, His Excellency, Hon. Dr. Salomao Xirimbimbi, Angolan Minister of Fisheries and party visited AQD’s Tigbauan Main Station (TMS) to explore possible research collaboration with AQD.

Accompanying Dr. Xirimbimbi were Hon. Flavio Fonseca, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Angola; Hon. Etienne Brechet, Philippine Honorary Consul General in Luanda, Angola; and Hon. Virgilio Reyes Jr, Philippine Ambassador to Pretoria.

The guests were shown AQD’s institutional video to give them a background on AQD’s work. They were then given a tour of AQD’s research facilities.

Dr. Toledo, Atty. Sarmiento and Mr. Pokajam explore the sea cucumber setup  On July 29,  Papua New Guinea National Fisheries Authority Managing Director Mr. Sylvester Pokajam and Assistant Research Officer Mr. Jerome Tioti dropped by TMS to discuss possible collaboration activities, particularly those involving tilapia, catfish, carp, freshwater prawns, sea cucumber and abalone. 

Also joining them were officials from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), including Director Atty. Malcolm Sarmiento Jr, National Freshwater Fisheries Technology Center Chief Mr. Melchor Tayamen, BFAR Region 6 Director Drusila Esther Bayate, and Mr. Augusto Natividad of Frabelle Fishing Corp.

AQD bags two awards

Dr. Quinitio (as one of the co-authors) receives the Dr. Elvira O. Tan Memorial Award from Dr. Rafael Guerrero, LBSCFI Chair, R&D Awards Committee for Aquaculture & Marine Fisheries; and Dr. Robert Zeigler, LBSCFI President First author Dr. RamosThe awards keep on coming for AQD.  

The prestigious Dr. Elvira O. Tan Memorial Award for best paper under the aquaculture and inland fisheries category was won for the paper Evaluation of hatchery-based enhancement of the mud crab, Scylla spp. fisheries in mangroves: Comparison of species and release strategies written by Maria Junemie Hazel Lebata-Ramos, Lewis Le Vay, Mark Walton, Joseph Binas, Emilia Quinitio, Eduard Rodriguez and Jurgenne Primavera.

The awarding ceremony took place July 24 at the SEARCA Auditorium in Los Baños, Laguna. In behalf of the main author, Dr. Emilia Quinitio received a plaque from the Los Baños Science Community Foundation, Inc. (LBSCFI) and cash award from the Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development (PCAMRD). Dr. Quinitio earlier presented a synthesis of the paper to the Los Baños science community.

With the victory, AQD continues on its legacy of producing award-winning papers in aquaculture. AQD has been the recipient of the Elvira O. Tan Memorial Award more than 20 times, the earliest of which was given in 1987.

Dr. Ramos receives more accolades, having been chosen as one of the three winners of the Japan international award for young agricultural researchers 2009 given out by the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences(JIRCAS).

Dr. Ramos will have a 15-minute presentation during the awarding ceremony slated on November 4 at the University of Tokyo in Japan.

Training courses on milkfish cage culture, abalone hatchery and grow-out

Module 2 of milkfish cage culture in Guimaras

Dr. Catacutan demonstrates aquafeed formulation for the trainees Participants of the second phase of  the Season-long training course on milkfish cage culture module 2 braved the inclement weather and gathered at the covered municipal gymnasium of Nueva Valencia, Guimaras from July 30-31.

A total of 92 trainees from the barangays of Igang, Magamay, and Sto. Domingo participated in the training course.

The first day consisted of  lectures and practical sessions in fish stocking and sampling by Mr. Alex Babol of AQD’s Igang Marine Station (IMS). AQD staff Ms. Dianne Hope Tormon also took the floor, handed out socioeconomic survey forms/questionnaires to the participants, and patiently explained how to fill them out.

On the second day, Scientist Dr. Relicardo Coloso discussed the nutrient requirements of milkfish and other tropical aquaculture species, as well as feed and feeding practices to reduce cost and pollution. This was followed by Scientist Dr. Mae Catacutan’s  lecture and hands-on session on aquafeed formulation, processing of feed ingredients and feed preparation.

The second phase of the milkfish culture project is a collaboration between AQD, Petron Foundation Inc, and Citi Philippines.

Abalone training  yields five graduates

The trainees take notes on the hatchery production of abaloneFive trainees successfully completed the International training course on abalone hatchery and grow-out conducted by AQD from July 2-22, with funding support from the Government of Japan Trust Fund.

The five trainees included Mr. Ibnu Rusdi from Indonesia; Ms. Naw Deborah from Myanmar; Ms. Ma. Christi Nacido from the Philippines; Mr. Jun Ming Zann Tan from Singapore; and Mr. Supakant Chaichotranunt from Thailand. 

For the duration of the training, the participants underwent extensive lecture and practical sessions on hatchery management, culture of natural food organisms, grow-out, harvest, and financial feasibility analysis. It was not all hard work, however, as the trainees also took time off their hectic schedules for field trips.

AQD, St. Paul University ink accord

From left: Dr. Ayson, Sr. Agravante, Dr. Toledo and Ms. Olaguer during the signing of the MOUSt. Paul University (SPU) based in Iloilo City joins the growing list of AQD partner institutions with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) last July 10.

The MOU was signed by AQD Chief Dr. Joebert Toledo and SPU president Sr. Carolina Agravante at AQD’s Tigbauan Main Station. AQD Research Division Head Dr. Evelyn Grace Ayson and SPU Research Director Ms. Imelda Olaguer served as witnesses.

The pact aims to develop collaborative training and extension programs; promote the exchange of scientists between the two institutions for instruction, training and related activities; and strengthen the capabilities of both AQD and SPU in the fields of fisheries, aquatic and related sciences, with emphasis on sound environmental practices.

The MOU took effect from the day of signing and is good for five years.

AQD holds Dean DK Villaluz memorial lecture, research seminar

The Dean Domiciano K. Villaluz memorial lecture, an annual event  held in honor of Dean Villaluz, AQD’s first Chief, was held at AQD’s Tigbauan Main Station (TMS) last July 9.

Dr. Fernando Siringan of the Marine Science Institute of the University of the Philippines Diliman Dr. Siringan on Temporal trends of sea surface temperature in the Philippines and some possible consequencestalked about the Temporal trends of sea surface temperature in the Philippines and some possible consequences, Dr. Siringan revealed that sea surface temperatures (SST) around the Philippines and its internal seas are getting warmer. Data also showed that the seas along the Pacific seaboard warmed by about 1.5°C over the past 90 years at a rate accelerating over the past 25 years. 

What are the negative effects of SST rise? Dr. Siringan mentioned that changes in shallow and deep-ocean water primary production have been observed. Certain dinoflagellates associated with harmful algal blooms, such as Pyrodinium bahamense, also flourish in warmer waters. In addition, the rising sea levels in the Philippines is due to the warming of the seas. Thus, coastal erosion and worsening floods along the coastal plains have persisted in the country.

A research seminar was also held that same day, whereDr. Suarez on The SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department in Philippine science and society Dr. Raul Suarez of the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology of the University of California, Santa Barbara spoke about The SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department in Philippine science and society. According to him, data have shown that the reason the Philippines is poor is the lack of “intangible capital,” i.e., the skills and education of its people, their ability to work together to achieve common goals, and the quality of social institutions. He also noted that, sadly, the country lags behind its neighbors in scientific productivity, and that science has not contributed significantly to increasing intangible capital.

Consultative meeting on aquafeed standards

AQD scientist Dr. Relicardo Coloso took part in a Consultative meeting to draft a Philippine National Standard (PNS) for aquaculture feeds.

The meeting, which took place last July 16, was held in Bacolod City to present the draft PNS and solicit feedback from stakeholders.

Dr. Coloso presented an Overview of Philippine aquaculture feed industry. Future prospects, according to Dr. Coloso, include improved formulations for environment friendly feeds for sustainable aquaculture, more information on micronutrient requirements, additives and enhancers. He also mentioned that new areas for aquaculture development and new formulations of feeds for various species will expand the aquaculture feed market by at least 5% that would cause more pressure on feed resources. Inadequate formulation of aquaculture feeds may affect the income of aquaculture farmers/operators and eventually the quality of the environment. The need for quality control in aquaculture feeds is very important to safeguard the health of the consumers. Aquaculture feed millers and aquaculture farmers/operators must be responsible to make sure that the feeds they manufacture or use pass certain standards.

The development of this standard was started in 2007 when the National Agriculture and Fisheries Council–Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture (NAFC–CFA) created a group to work in identifying fish and fishery commodities for standardization.

Aquaculture feeds was identified and recommended by the NAFC-CFA Working Group on Fisheries Product Standardization because of its economic importance.

This activity is one of four meetings as a prerequisite prior to the approval of the standard as PNS. – by Mark Matubang, DA-Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Product Standards

Conferences on investments, catfish, genetics

Region 12 1st investment conference

Dr. Aralar (seated, 3rd from left) with other resource persons and staff of DTI Region 12, one of the conference co-sponsors Scientist Dr. Ma. Lourdes Aralar represented AQD at the Region 12 first investment conference (ICON) held last July 22-23.

The conference, adopting the theme Channeling substantial resources towards investments, was conducted at General Santos City.

Dr. Aralar presented the available technology for the larval rearing, nursery and grow-out of the giant freshwater prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii, locally known as ulang.

At the end of the break-out session for ulang, P4 million worth of investments have been tagged by interested participants/investors who want to venture into the culture of the commodity. It was noted that the supply of ulang cannot keep up with the demand, hence, investments on its culture was included in the ICON.

Also included were lectures on the technology, financing and market matching for investors on eco-tourism site development; coconut sugar; sap and honeybee production; barako coffee; sunflower farming; engineering and architectural designs; pineapple; moringa (malunggay); and cardava banana. 

The conference was organized by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), National Economic Research and Business Assistance Center (NERBAC) Region 12, Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Small and Medium Enterprise Development (SMED) Council of General Santos City, and the Department of Tourism.

2nd hito conference in GenSan

Dr. Catacutan talks about formulating feeds out of indigenous materials for catfish; (From left) Ms. Rochelle Otoc, Pangasius Industry Desk Officer of Region XXII; Ms. Evangelista, and Mr. Lao, President of the Mindanao Business Council AQD’s Dr. Mae Catacutan and Ms. Antonietta Evangelista participated in the 2nd hito conference held in General Santos City last July 21.

Dr. Catacutan was on hand to present a paper on Formulated feeds out of indigenous materials for catfish, while Ms. Evangelista talked about the Status of catfish aquaculture industry in the Philippines and Natural food for freshwater species.

Both were able to present AQD’s contribution to the the catfish industry in the Philippines which includes studies on the hatchery, nursery as well as grow-out technologies for the culture of the native catfish Clarias macrocephalus. Because of this, AQD was officially identified by the Mr. Vicente Lao, president of the Mindanao Business Council, as one of the lead agencies to help the catfish industry.

Queries on disease management and feed cost were raised and answered by Dr. Catacutan and Ms. Evangelista.
Problems on the slow growth and low survival of hatchery produced fry (Pangasius species) were also brought up. 

The Department of Trade & Industry 12, Bureau of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources 12 and the SOCSARGEN Catfish Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (SOCAFAMPC) were the main sponsors of the event.

Forum on GM technologies in Quezon City

AQD scientist Dr. Maria Rowena Eguia presented a paper on the current Local situation on GM technology: focus on GM tilapia during the Forum on GM (genetic modification) technologies organized by the Network Opposed to Genetically Modified Organisms (NO2GMOs!) last July 20 in Diliman, Quezon City.

Dr. Eguia’s presentation, entitled Are we ready for ‘Franken’ tilapia, was well-received by the audience. The attendees were relieved to know that farmed GM fish have not been commercially approved for distribution. The NO2GMOs was pleased to note that AQD upholds the Code of conduct for responsible aquaculture, which states that the use and propagation of GMOs is not encouraged in SEAFDEC member-countries.

Also discussed were the international trends on new GM technologies and modern biotechnology applications (GM tree, GM virus, GM pharma, GM fish) and research done in the Philippines on genetically modified rice, papaya, eggplant, papaya and peanuts, among other crops.

Dr. Eguia hopes that in the future, AQD resource persons continue to participate in similar fora so that the general public is made aware of the issues/problems that arise from the use and/or misuse of modern biotechnologies.

Bookwriting workshop at AQD

AQD held a bookwriting workshop attended by its senior staff on July 8 held at AQD’s Tigbauan Main Station.

From left: Prof. Tayo, Dr. PerezThe first speaker, Prof. Gilma Tayo of the University of the Philippines Visayas, shared her experiences in writing two textbooks in her presentation on Translating jargon: introduction to bookwriting. She defined a texbook as a topic book, a theme information package, a guide to the teaching process. She also mentioned the need to define the target clients and goals of the book and the materials needed. She also went through the entire process of bookwriting, from writing to printing.

Dr. Gregorio Perez of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Region 6 on the other hand updated the participants on the Status of fisheries education in Western Visayas. He noted that there are 11 schools in the region currently offering fisheries degree programs, with enrollment ranging from zero to 613.

The two workshop groups tackle aquaculture science and socioeconomics & policyIn the afternoon session, participants were divided into two groups for the workshop, which was facilitated by Prof. Tayo and Dr. Relicardo Coloso, chair of AQD’s Publications Review Committee. It was decided that AQD will publish three textbooks – one tackling Aquaculture Science and the other two to deal with Socioeconomics and Policy. Research Division Head Dr. Evelyn Grace Ayson will coordinate the first textbook, with Scientist Dr. Nerissa Salayo and Training and Information Division Head Mr. Renato Agbayani handling the other two.

The participants identified a time frame for the publication, the target audience and promotional activities for the textbooks.