New marine hatchery opens in Mindanao



A new marine fish hatchery in Misamis Occidental is now operational through the joint efforts of the provincial government, the Australian government and the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) through its Aquaculture Department (AQD). Headed by Dr. Joebert Toledo, AQD provided the technical support, technology and supervision over the project.

The P8.8-million hatchery was recently inaugurated by President Gloria Arroyo along with DA Secretary Arthur Yap, Misamis Occidental Gov. Loreto Ocampos and Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Rod Smith.

The project, which forms part of the Misamis Occidental Aquaculture Park (MOAP), 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.

The hatchery facilities were built through a joint partnership with the Australian government through the Philippines-Australia Local Sustainability (PALS) program, which allocated P5.56 million for the project.

The Misamis Occidental provincial government shouldered the P2.44 million counterpart fund to complete the hatchery.

"The hatchery is expected to produce an annual output of 576,000 grouper (lapu-lapu or pugapo) fry, which will help guarantee a stable supply of fish for the province," Toledo said in a report to Yap. "Milkfish, red snapper, crablets, seabass, seahorse and other high-value species are also expected to be produced in the hatchery."

The facility is capable of supporting 32 grouper grow-out fish cages that will be placed along the 169-kilometer coastline of Panguil Bay and Murcillagos Bay, Toledo said.

He said this hatchery houses two 160-tonner broodstock tanks supported by a 135-ton reservoir tank. Six 15-tonner Chlorella and rotifer tanks will supply natural food for the 8 larval tanks that will raise 12,000 fry each per run or every 60 days

Director Malcolm Sarmiento of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources earlier pointed out that mariculture parks are not only practical and economical but are also ecology-friendly.

For instance, he said, mangrove trees don't need to be cut to raise bangus in a fish cage. Raising fish in a mariculture park is also cheaper because it costs only about P150,000 to put up a sea cage while development cost for a hectare of fishpond will reach about P1 million.

Moreover, yields can reach as much as 5 tons in a 10x10 meter sea cage inside a mariculture park, which is the same as in a one-hectare fish pond, Sarmiento added.

With production cost of P70.00-P75.00 per kilo, a fish farmer could easily earn some P90,000.00 per cage or a total of P180,000.00 for two cropping periods per year.

To further increase his earnings, a fish farmer can also grow danggit or samaral in seacages tandem with bangus under a system called aqua-polyculture. After one cropping with 1,680 pieces fingerlings, danggit could grow to an estimated 100 kilos, which could easily fetch an additional cash of P8,800.

The DA has been working closely with the SEAFDEC in several fisheries development projects, including the supervision over the culture and importation of Peneaus vannamei or Pacific white shrimp and a three-year collaborative "fish-tagging" project that will focus on determining the migration patterns of small pelagic fishes with the end in view of crafting a regional plan to guarantee the sustainability of these marine resources. - DA Press Office

Australian embassy sets meeting with AQD

DSC02650Mr. Stephen Scott, Minister and Deputy Head of Mission of the Australian Embassy, visited AQD on January 22, meeting with AQD Chief Dr. Joebert Toledo, Research Head Dr. Evelyn Grace DJ-Ayson, and Administration & Finance Head Atty. Jerry Opinion.

Mr. Scott was mostly interested to know about AQD’s participation on the multi-species hatchery project in Misamis Occidental. He inquired about the contributions of AQD to the project, how the project started, what species will be raised in the hatchery, and what benefits will be gained by the community.

The visit of Mr. Scott to AQD is part of the Australian Embassy’s scheduled appointments to representatives of Philippine government agencies, academe, international and non-governmental organizations to discuss local politics, security, and development issues.

NCSU professor visits AQD

North Carolina State University (NCSU) professor Dr. Russell Borski visited AQD last January 23-27 to discuss on the progress of the existing collaborative project between NCSU and AQD entitled Alternative feeding strategies to improve milkfish production efficiency in the Philippines. Dr. Borski is the Principal Investigator and AQD RD head Dr. Evelyn Grace DJ-Ayson is the host country Co-principal Investigator for the project.

On his first day at AQD, Dr. Borski together with Dr. DJ-Ayson went to Igang Marine Station to see the site of the milkfish cage experiments which will be started this February. The next day, he met with the seaweed farmers in Sibunag, Guimaras. These farmers were beneficiaries of a previous workshop (which is also part of the collaborative project) conducted by Dr. Anicia Hurtado. Dr. Borski also surveyed the seaweed farms in Sibunag.

Dr. Borski had a meeting with Dr. DJ-Ayson, Ms. Milagros CastaƱos (Devcom head), and Ms. Kaylin Corre (OIC TID head) on January 26 to discuss podcasting as a new extension tool. During the meeting, Dr. Borski also showed his initial efforts on tilapia book review podcast.

Lastly, Dr. Borski conducted a research seminar on Compensatory growth: mechanisms and applications for improving production efficiency of fish at TMS RD AV room on the 27th.

BFS senior staff visits ABOT client

AQD’s Binangonan Freshwater Station (BFS) senior staff Mr. Ruel Eguia visited the brackishwater pond of ABOT (agree-build-operate-transfer aquabusiness) client Mr. Chito Nepomuceno at Magallanes, Sorsogon last January 22-23.

The purpose of Mr. Eguia’s visit was to evaluate: (1) fishpond infrastructure and (2) preparation activities for the farm site. Mr. Nepomuceno is planning to culture milkfish and seabass and considering culturing tiger prawns as well.

Upon AQD’s advise, Mr. Nepomuceno replaced his pond’s primary and secondary wooden gates, fabricated screens and wooden slabs, cleared the dikes of weeds, levelled the pond bottom, readied the ponds for fertilization and liming, repaired eroded dikes, and positioned the pond’s main gate strategically.

AQD joins international symposium on catfish aquaculture

Copy of Copy of PC060141 AQD’s Binangonan Freshwater Station (BFS) researcher Ms. Antonieta Evangelista presented a paper on “Growth and survival of Asian catfish Clarias macrocephalus (Gunther) fry reared at different stocking densities and feeding regimes in Laguna de Bay, Philippines” in the international symposium in Can Tho University, Can Tho City, Vietnam. The Catfish aquaculture in Asia: present status and challenges for sustainable development conference was held last December 5-7, 2008.

The conference’s organizer was Can Tho University in collaboration with NACA (Network of Aquaculture Centers in Asia-Pacific) & ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) Aquaculture Platform, and PhysCAM Project of DANIDA (Danish International Development Agency). The government and other local institutions in Vietnam also supported the event.

In joining the conference, AQD gained knowledge and gathered relevant information on the economic importance of catfish aquaculture. It also expanded AQD’s network of contacts for future collaborations.

AQD attends symposium on current research trends in fisheries biology

AQD’s Binangonan Freshwater Station (BFS) senior staff Dr. Maria Rowena Eguia, Mr. Ruel Eguia, and Ms. Antonieta Evangelista participated in the international symposium on Current research trends in fisheries biology last January 20. The conference was held at the Philippine Carabao Center, CLSU (Central Luzon State University), Nueva Ecija.

The purpose of the conference is to disseminate results of the collaborative studies by CLSU and the National Taiwan University under the Microsatellite and Otolith (MO) project. Most topics of the presentations are on population genetics as applied in the conservation and management of freshwater fishes.

In joining this event, BFS participants were able to: (1) gather relevant concepts and techniques that can be applied to BFS’s current research projects, and (2) meet researchers who are interested in collaborating with AQD.

AQD participates in ASA-IM seminar

AQD fish health scientist Dr. Edgar Amar acted as chair and moderator of the American Soybean Association-International Marketing (ASA-IM) sponsored technical seminar on ‘Marine fish disease: prevention, maintenance, identification, and treatment.’ AQD’s Dr. Gilda Lio-Po, on the other hand, gave a lecture on presumptive diagnosis of fish mortality outbreaks at the farm-level. The seminar was held in Iloilo Business Hotel, Iloilo City last December 2, 2008.

AQD’s Dr. Mae Catacutan, Ms. Kaylin Corre, and Ms. Delia Tubo also attended the seminar. AQD publications were also sold during the seminar.