Double victory at the 12th Intel Philippine Science Fair

Angeli Joyce Yap Dy holding her trophy (center) with the Chief, Dr. RV Pakingking Jr, parents (left), and research adviser Mr. Ronilo Aponte (right) Two first place winners of the recent 12th Intel Philippine Science Fair (IPSF) conducted their research with the assistance of AQD experts and using AQD facilities.

Angeli Joyce Yap Dy of Capiz National High School (CNHS) won 1st place in the Cluster 2 Life Science Individual Category with her study “In vitro cytotoxicity MTT assay against human lung carcinoma (A549) and human colon carcinoma (HCT116), free radical DPPH scavenging assay and antibacterial assay of milkfish (Chanos chanos Forsskal) bile: a physicochemical defense system.”

In AQD, she conducted her cytotoxicity and antimicrobial assays under the supervision of Dr. RV Pakingking Jr and BCA protein assay with the assistance of F Legario. She also went to UP Diliman for the other components of her study.

Angeli, bested 16 other regional winners in her category and will be going to Reno, Nevada in the United States to represent the Philippines in the Intel International Science Fair (ISEF) 2009 on May 10 to 16.

Another winning entry by Toribio Ramon Hechanova III, Jonathan Quiogue, and Janvin Jessel Cariscal from the Philippine Science High School Western Visayas (PSHSWV) was entitled ”Urea enrichment in marine waters lowers the egg viability and inhibits early embryonic development of the sea urchin Tripneustes gratilla L.”

Their study, which won 1st place in the Cluster 2 Physical Science Group Category and a special award from the Congressional Commission on Science & Technology and Engineering, aims to provide evidence to support the continuation of the ban on Sulu Sea urea dumping.

These three senior high school students conducted their research under the supervision of Dr. MJH Lebata-Ramos who helped them with their paper and in using facilities at the stock-enhancement laboratory.

The same students garnered the top prize in their category during the PSHSWV Science Research Congress last February 16 where AQD’s NB Bautista, D Catedral, and RD Dianala were among the invited judges.

Sasapim, Nilobon, and Suwaree

On February 26, AQD bade farewell to three on-the-job trainees from Thailand, Ms. Suwaree Kitikiew, Ms. Nilobon Janwong, and Ms. Sasipim Namwongprom who have been training in the department for four months since November 3 last year.

These three undergraduate students were studying Fisheries Technology and Aquatic Resources at the Maejo University in Chiangmai before their training in AQD.

In four months, they had internship training at the Natural Food Laboratory, Fish Hatchery, Abalone and Seaweed Hatchery, Fish Health Section, Feed Mill Plant, Central Analytical Laboratory, the IMS Mariculture Park, Crustacean Hatchery, DBS, and also attended the Training of Trainers on Rural Aquaculture last November 2008.

Abalone and seaweed trainees from Northern Marianas

Clipboard01 Eight trainees from the Northern Mariana Islands participated in a Specialized Training on Abalone (Haliotis asinina) Nursery & Grow-out Culture and Seaweed (Gracilaria) Farming last February 16 to 21.

Aside from the lectures and practicals at TMS, the trainees also visited DBS to witness a milkfish harvest, and IMS for practicals on abalone cage-culture operations.

The trainees were composed of Hon. Jose San Nicolas, Mayor of the Municipality of Tinian; Mr. Ross Hugh Manglona, Northern Marianas College (NMC) Cooperative Research Education & Extension Services Director; Michael Ogo, NMC Grouper Project Principal Investigator; and five other staff from the Municipality of Tinian.
The training was initiated when Mr. Manglona of NMC visited AQD last year to survey technologies in preparation for their collaborative project with the LGU of Tinian.

Mayor San Nicolas will return to AQD in March and plans to bring more of his staff in June for training on tissue culture.

National wetlands conference

The National Conference on Wetlands, Climate Change Adaptation and Biodiversity Conservation was held 12-14 January at Silliman University in Dumaguete City.

Dr. MLC Aralar of AQD attended the conference as a member of the Technical working group for the Freshwater wetlands committee of the conference.

Among the primary objectives of the conference was to revise the National wetlands action plan for the Philippines.

On the second day of the conference, Dr. MLC Aralar joined a field trip to the twin lakes Balinsasayao and Danao. Both are lakes are protected areas where locals have stopped their kaingin (slash and burn) activities and turned to ecotourism.

UST listens to ulang lecture

The Department of Biological Science of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) listened to a lecture by AQD’s Dr. MLC Aralar on ulang culture last February 3.

The lecture “Biology and culture of the giant freshwater prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii” was the university’s Biology Departmental Lecture for their Science Week Celebration and was attended by 3rd and 4th year BS Biology students, graduate students, and faculty.

The Biological Science Department of UST is interested in conducting their students’ thesis research at AQD.
One of their graduate students, Ms. A Herrera, already plans to conduct her thesis on freshwater prawn at BFS.

PCAMRD Zonal R&D workshop

Dr. MLC Aralar presented a paper “Comparison of performance of two populations of the giant freshwater prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii cultured in lake-based cages” at the 12th Southern Luzon zonal R&D review and planning workshop at the Southern Luzon State University in Lucban, Quezon which was held last December 3 to 4, 2008.

The workshop is an annual event of the PCAMRD Southern Luzon Zonal Center for Aquatic and Marine R&D.
Noteworthy are the paper presentations of Ms. Weeny Escobar of the Cavite State University (CavSU) entitled “Pathogenicity of bacteria from fish and shrimp to high saline red tilapia Oreochromis sp.” which was done under Dr. GL Po’s guidance, and Ms. Leah Lacson (also from CavSU) “Artemia consumption of mud crab Scylla serrata larvae under the supervision of Dr. ET Quinitio.

Lambunao sites assessed for fish culture

DSC00783 Upon the invitation of LGU officials, AQD visited the town of Lambunao, Iloilo last January 15 to assess potential demonstration sites for tilapia culture.

Lambunao Mayor Raynor Gonzales is interested in providing aquaculture livelihood to local farmers whose fields were wiped-out by Typhoon Frank last June 2008.

AQD’s Dr. EG Ayson, Dr. MJHL Ramos, Ms. KG Corre, and Ms. RF Bombeo visited three sites in Brgy. Masisi and Brgy. Tampicao and found two of the sites suitable for the pilot-demonstration of tilapia pond and cage culture.

The two sites, with a combined area of over 600m2, have existing pond compartments, are flood-free, and can tap the adjacent river as a water source.

The owners of the sites are all enthusiastic to collaborate with the LGU and AQD for the establishment of pilot-demo sites in their areas.

Town officials hope to establish five demo sites in all through local funding and AQD’s technical assistance.
AQD is currently preparing a project proposal and budget estimates for the livelihood program.

Once approved, a season-long training course will be conducted to prepare the beneficiaries.

PhP10 M research fund offered to Ronpaku Fellows

Dr. Graciano Yumul Jr, DOST Undersecretary for R&D, announced a PhP10 million research fund for a two-year multi-disciplinary  project which will address the negative effects of climate change in the Philippines.

Dr. Yumul offered the fund to the DOST-JSPS Philippine Society of Ronpaku Fellows (PRF) during its meeting at the University of Santo Tomas last February 13.

Dr. MRR Eguia, who  represented AQD-based PRF fellows in the meeting, encouraged AQD-based PRF to provide inputs to the umbrella proposal for presentation in a Focus Group Discussion which will be held on March 7, 2009 at the De La Salle University.

In the same meeting, Dr. Eguia was inducted as secretary of the society.

The Philippine Society of JSPS RONPAKU Fellows is comprised of researchers, scientists and academicians in the agricultural sciences, fisheries, health, engineering, and political science etc, who were grantees of the JSPS PhD dissertation scholarship.

1st Ulang Summit

Three scientists from AQD delivered papers during the 1st National summit on the hatchery and culture of freshwater prawn held in the BFAR NIFTDC Asian Fisheries Academy in Dagupan City last December 11, 2008.

Giant freshwater prawn is locally known as “ulang” in the Philippines.

Dr. MLC Aralar presented a paper on “Culture of the giant freshwater prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii in lake based cages”, Dr. MRR Eguia delivered a paper on “Research Initiatives on the Giant Freshwater Prawn”, and Dr. LD de la Peña’s paper was on “Common diseases of Macrobrachium rosenbergii”.

In the summit’s draft resolution, AQD was included as one of the leading agencies in local prawn research.
One of the summit’s presentors, Ms. Cora Ryan from Kalinga, also acknowledged the skills she learned from an AQD on-site training to have helped in her ulang production.

The summit aimed to (1) gather information on available technologies, (2) identify gaps and market for the development of the industry, (3) identify strategies for the formulation of a 5-year road map, and (4) prepare a resolution for the promotion of freshwater prawn as an aquaculture commodity.

Black-eyed peas eaten by grouper

Left to right: Sensory-evaluators being oriented by Ms. PS Eusebio (standing); two types of grouper meat, steamed and in sinigangSome AQD-reared grouper stocks have reportedly been eating black-eyed peas, also known as cowpeas or Vigna unguiculata, as part of their diet.

This is the subject of a study under the Marine Fish Program  entitled “White cowpea meal as alternative source of protein for grouper Epinephelus fuscoguttatus”, by PS Eusebio with RM Coloso, JP Biñas, and M Tesorero. The study aims to promote sustainable aquaculture through the use of alternative plant protein sources that can partially replace fishmeal in the diet.

The RD conference room was filled with AQD staff last 24 February for a sensory-evaluation activity that aimed to test if meat from grouper fed the regular fish meal-based diet is any different from those fed the cowpea-based diet. Cowpea is a cheaper source of protein for feeds than fish meal.

Sensory-evaluators were asked to rate the two kinds of grouper meat, labeled A and B, on a hedonic scale based on odor, flavor, and texture. Each kind of meat was prepared two different ways, steamed and sinigang (sour broth).
Should there be no noticeable difference between the two kinds of grouper meat, then cowpea-fed grouper will have no trouble with market acceptance.

Law creating Department of Fisheries discussed

A technical working group met to discuss and refine House Bills 227, 3184, 3739, and 3178 which provide for the creation of a Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, last February 9 in Quezon City.

AQD was represented in the meeting by Dr. CL Marte, Mr. RF Agbayani, Dr. MRR Eguia, and Ms. GVH Garcia.
The meeting was organized upon the motion of the Committee on Government Reorganization and the Committee on Aquaculture and Fisheries Resources of the Philippine House of Representatives.

Aside from the technical/scientific community representatives, fisherfolk, NGOs, and government agency representatives also shared their perspectives and impressions as each section of the draft bill was reviewed.
The outcome of the meeting, which is a consolidated draft bill, will be presented in another TWG meeting to be attended by the same sectoral representatives but this time with the house bill proponents.
Until then, additional comments and suggestions still need to be raised.

For one, Dr. CL Marte believes that section 4 of the draft house bill defining the jurisdiction of DFAR should be expanded to include municipal waters since local governments are not as capable in aquatic resource management as the proposed national government agency.

RTC on International Fisheries Related Issues

Back-to-back with the Department Chiefs’ meeting, the ASEAN-SEAFDEC regional technical consultation on international fisheries related issues was held last February 10 to 12 in the same venue.

The participants were national delegates from the ASEAN and SEAFDEC member countries, representatives of SEAFDEC Secretariat and Departments and the ASEAN Secretariat, and resource persons from the European Commission, Faculty of Economics of Kasetsart University and Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (Thailand). AQD Chief Dr. JD Toledo and Ms. B Acosta also attended the meeting.

The attendees were briefed on development initiatives to improve food security in the ASEAN region and possible contribution from the fisheries sector in realizing the food security objectives.

Regional issues such as EC regulation to prevent, deter, eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing; FAO legally-binding instruments on port state measures for combating IUU fishing; small-scale fisheries; refinements of the required adaptive measures and proposed activities to mitigate impacts of climate change; aquaculture certification; and fisheries subsidies, were reviewed and discussed in the meeting.

Other matters taken up were the resolution issued at the 61st Session of the UN General Assembly on high sea bottom fisheries and the global economic situation and its impact on the fisheries sector.

Department Chiefs meet in Bangkok

p1 AQD Chief Dr. JD Toledo, Deputy Chief, Dr. H Ogata and Ms. B Acosta attended the Department Chiefs’ meeting held last 9 February 2009 in Bangkok. SEAFDEC activities that require collaboration among the Secretariat and the different Departments were discussed in the meeting.

These include the preparations for the 41st meeting of the SEAFDEC council which is scheduled to be held in Fukuoka, Japan this April and the final revisions for the Concept Proposal on the ASEAN-SEAFDEC conference on sustainable fisheries development towards 2020.

The meeting participants also discussed the new program framework and guidelines on SEAFDEC Intellectual Property Rights which will be proposed and endorsed for approval by the SEAFDEC Council.

Other issues discussed were information related matters and follow-up actions from the 31st Program committee meeting and the 11th Fisheries consultative group Meeting of SEAFDEC.