Training for Rwanda

Rwandan trainees during the demonstration on assembling floaters for net cages and pens A two-phase training course on freshwater aquaculture was conducted by AQD's Binangonan Freshwater Station (BFS) for ten staff members of the Rwanda Workforce Development Authority (RWDA) from May 7 to June 19, 2009.

The training course was commissioned by the Singapore-based Acrux Stella Education Group Pte. Ltd. (ASEG) which handles projects in Rwanda.

While the training covered four commercially important tropical species, emphasis during field/farm visits was given to tilapia and catfish which are common to both Asia and Africa.

The first phase of the training course was a three-week skills training in Freshwater fish breeding and farming, while the second phase was Industry immersion training involving three weeks of internship training on freshwater fish hatchery and lake-based pen/cage farming operations.

Phase 1 of the training consisted mainly of lecture and practical sessions on basic and advanced technologies in broodstock development, hatchery and grow-out, and management of freshwater fish/crustacean species.

Apart from the sessions held in BFS, the participants were also taken on field trips to visit tilapia science center facilities in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, Taal Lake for tilapia cage culture, and catfish ponds in Bulacan.

Phase 2 was conducted at several farm sites owned by Concord Aquaculture of the Frabelle Fishing Corporation where the trainees learned milkfish cage/pen operations, carp hatchery operations, fish transport, and fish processing.

As requested by ASEG Director Mr. Bruno Lee, the training course aimed to raise the overall knowledge of the RWDA staff in freshwater aquaculture in order to increase the productivity of fish farming in freshwater lakes in Rwanda.

AQD holds marine fish hatchery training

Trainees of the international marine fish hatchery trainingNine participants from six countries took part in this year’s International training course on marine fish hatchery, which ran from May 18 to June 23.

Four participants came from the Philippines, while one each came from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Germany, Malaysia, and Myanmar.

Lectures and practicals covered a diverse array of topics such as sustainable aquaculture, fish biology, natural food production, hatchery design and management, nutrition and feeds, water quality monitoring, health management, economics, post-harvest, and marketing.

Aside from the lectures and practicals which were held in TMS, the participants also visited IMS, DBS, UPV Miagao, and several private hatcheries in Iloilo.

122 Guimaras fisherfolk train on milkfish cage culture

AQD's Mr. Renato Agbayani hands over a check to the officers of a fisherfolk organization in San Antonio Ninety-two fisherfolk from Brgys Igang, Magamay, and Sto. Domingo in Guimaras registered last June 25 at the Nueva Valencia Municipal Gymnasium for Phase 2 of the Season-long training course on milkfish cage culture.

Including the thirty that already registered in Brgy San Antonio last month, this brings the total number of participants in the training to 122.

After registration, a short program was held where Brgy. Captains gave their messages and introduced their respective participants. Hon Alex Araneta, Mayor of Nueva Valencia also graced the event and encouraged the participants to do their best to learn from the training course.

Module 1 of their training then commenced with lectures on sustainable aquaculture and milkfish cage culture followed by practicals on net cage fabrication and water quality monitoring which lasted until the next day.

Brgy San Antonio
Meanwhile, the 30 trainees in San Antonio advanced to module 2 of their training held from June 30 to July 1. The module covered the same topics as module 1 of Igang, Magamay, and Sto Domingo.

On the first day, they were also given their certificates for participating in the first module on post-harvest and marketing, which was held last month in San Antonio.

Training sessions for the participants from San Antonio are held separate from the three other barangays because of their community’s distance from the municipal gymnasium.

Phase 1 profits turned over
During their respective training sessions, TID Head Mr. RF Agbayani also handed over checks to the heads of the different fisherfolk organizations from the four barangays.

Three fisherfolk organizations from each of Brgys Igang, Magamay, and Sto. Domingo received checks worth P66,956.40 while two fisherfolk organizations from Brgy San Antonio received P33,478.20 each.

The checks represent the project share of the barangays from phase 1 of the training course which ended May last

The season long training course for these four barangays in Guimaras is part of a collaborative pilot project on Mariculture livelihood program for Guimaras fisherfolks between Citi Foundation, Petron Foundation, and AQD.

Genetics symposium in Bangkok

AQD's Dr. Maria Rowena Eguia (2nd from left) during the genetics symposium AQD's Dr. Ma. Rowena and Mr. Ruel Eguia participated as poster presentors in the 10th International symposium on genetics in aquaculture (ISGA X) which was held at the Sofitel Centara Grand and the Bangkok Convention Center in Bangkok last June 22 to 26.

The poster of Dr. MRR Eguia was titled “A comparative assessment of genetic and biological characteristics in two giant freshwater prawn species (Macrobrachium rosenbergii and Macrobrachium wallacei) in the Philippines” while Mr. RV Eguia’s poster was on the “Effect of reduced larval rearing salinity on subsequent growth and survival in two
generations of giant freshwater prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii.”

According to Dr. Eguia, the symposium allowed them to catch up “with news on the research involvements of
some highly respected senior and several contemporary geneticist-friends” and learn “new developments/trends in
genetics research as applied in aquaculture and biodiversity conservation.”

Dr. MRR Eguia’s travel was fully sponsored by the Thailand International Development Cooperation Agency (TICA) while AQD’s staff development program covered 50% of Mr. RV Eguia’s registration fee.

ISGA, which is held every three years, provides a venue where the latest in population genetics, genetic improvement
of aquacultured animals, and other related issues may be presented. It is organized by the International Association
for Genetics in Aquaculture.

Lab work in Onagawa

From left: Tohoku University (TU) Associate Prof. Dr. Minoru Ikeda, TU Vice President Prof. Akihiro Kijima, Dr. Eguia, and TU Assistant Prof. Dr. Manami Kanno in front of the Onagawa Field Science Center AQD scientist Dr. MRR Eguia analysed shrimp and mudcrab samples for microsatellite marker variation in the Onagawa Field Science Center (OFSC) in Tohoku University (TU), Onagawa, Japan from May 8 to June 3, 2009.

Dr. Eguia’s month-long stay was an offshoot of her 3-day visit last October 2008 during the World Fisheries Congress, where she did preliminary microsatellite marker analysis trials at the OFSC, which prides itself of advanced genetic marker analysis facilities and equipment.

Despite the absence of an official MOA between AQD and Tohoku University, the OFSC faculty, led by Dr. Eguia’s former professor Dr. Minoru Ikeda and thesis evaluator (now TU Vice President) Prof. Akihiro Kijima, allowed the use of their equipment, disposables, and some reagents at no cost.

According to Dr. Eguia, the month-long laboratory analysis, which was part of her GOJ-TF funded research, has
somehow shortened the period devoted to the study. She also cited the quick procurement of reagents/chemicals in Japan which would take at least 2 months in the Philippines.

Aside from the laboratory work, Dr. Eguia was also able to discuss plans for other areas of research collaboration with
the OFSC faculty.

“AQD can do future work with their research faculty in the application of genetic markers not only in aquaculture but mainly in stock enhancement as the PFSC is strong in population/evolutionary genetics work.”

Libraries’ conference in Belgium

Mr. Stephen Alayon (rightmost) is one of the participants of the 30th Annual conference of the International Association of Technological University Libraries AQD's Mr. Stephen Alayon of the Library & Databanking Services Section participated in the 30th Annual conference of the International Association of Technological University Libraries (IATUL) held at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Campusbibliotheek Arenberg, Heverlee, Leuven, Belgium last June 1-4.

Founded in Düsseldorf, Germany in 1955, the IATUL is a voluntary international non-governmental organization of a group of libraries, represented by their library directors or senior managers, who have responsibility for information services and resources management. It also serves as an international forum for the exchange of ideas relevant to librarianship in technological universities throughout the world.

“Just for you: Quality through innovation” is the theme of this year’s conference as the libraries of technical universities and scientific research centers strive to meet the demands of teachers and researchers in their pursuit of
research and innovation.

Mr. Alayon’s attendance to the IATUL Conference, which involved some 150 participants, is part of the Flemish Interuniversity Council – University Development Cooperation (VLIR-UOS) scholarship grant on International Training
Program (ITP) - Scientific and Technological Information Management in Universities and Libraries: an Active Training Environment, edition 9 (STIMULATE9).

IATUL decided to offer free membership to the organizations of STIMULATE9 participants’. With Mr. Alayon’s
participation, this offer was also extended to AQD for the year 2009-2010.

The next Annual IATUL Conference will be held on 20-24 June 2010 at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana and Chicago, USA with the theme “Evolving World of e-Science: Impact and Implication for Science and Technology Libraries.”

Post-project assessment in Malalison Island

AQD's Dr. Edgar Amar conducting a visual census of fish    A multi-disciplinary team from AQD conducted a post-project assessment last May 19 to 23 at Malalison Island, Culasi, Antique.

The team made a rapid appraisal of coral reefs and invertebrates (led by Ms. Yasmin Tirol), underwater visual census of fish stocks (led by Dr. Edgar Amar), seagrass survey (led by Ms. Maria Rovilla Luhan) and community profiling (led by Ms. Didi Baticados).

Findings show that coral mortality was widespread (37-44%) while live coral cover was very low in the natural reefs surveyed. Because the coral structures remained intact, the cause of coral mortality was thought to be from non-physical disturbances such as climate change, freshwater run-off, or the leakage of toxic chemicals from a cargo ship that sank near the island last year.

The fish census did not vary significantly from data gathered in 1999 and showed that fish were still abundant in the observed areas. However, the team presumed that the abundance of fish will decline in the near future as a result of the
widespread coral mortality.

Seagrass meadows in Malalison remained intact covering an area of 0.2 km2 although shells, sea cucumbers, and sea urchins were no longer found when these were abundant in 1993.

Fishing is still the primary source of livelihood in the community with 81% of the households owning boats.

Fishers claimed that there is still an abundance of fish but the apparent decline in their catch over the years is due to the increase in the island’s population.

Detailed results of the assessment can be read from The Malalison Experience, a storybook which documents the community fishery resources management efforts of AQD in the island since 1991.

The book, which is coauthored by Mr. Renato Agbayani, Dr. Clarissa Marte, Ms. Didi Baticados, Dr. Edgar Amar, and Ms. Milagros Castaños, will be available in the latter half of the year.

School supplies for Malalison
AQD's Ms. Luisa Pacino (right) turning over school supplies to teachers and students of Malalison More than 100 pupils of the Malalison Elementary School in Culasi, Antique benefited from about PhP12,000 worth of school supplies and educational materials delivered by AQD staff to the school last June 11, 2009.

Among the school supplies turned over by AQD librarian Ms. Luisa Pacino to the school’s Teacher-in-Charge Ms. Dionna Doroteo-Macuja were globes, maps, storybooks, art materials, charts, notebooks, pens, dictionaries, and volleyballs and nets.

Accompanying the boxes of donated materials was a letter from AQD Chief Dr. Joebert Toledo expressing support to quality education for the children of Malalison Island “so that in the future they take good care of the coastal resources.”

For almost two decades, the Malalison folk have been cooperating with AQD in the effective management of their coastal resources and in the improvement of their socioeconomic conditions.

AQD’s new shuttle bus, service boat

AQD's new shuttle bus New shuttle bus
There will soon be no more crowding on the bus for AQD’s Tigbauan Main Station (TMS) employees since the aging shuttle service bus will finally be replaced. A new 61-seater, 4-stroke, 6-cylinder Hino 2009 model bus powered by a turbo diesel engine and complete with tools and a spare tire was acquired from Motormall NCR at the cost of P5,109,375.

The bus, accompanied by Engr. ZT Suriaga and AQD driver ‘Monet’ Parreño, arrived in TMS last June 23 from Canlubang, Laguna after a brief stop-over at the Manila Office. Two representatives from Pilipinas Hino also came over to conduct a seminar/orientation on the maintenance and operation of the bus.

Parts were made in Japan and assembled in Laguna. The wavy design adorning the bus is by Mr. IT Tendencia. It will start shuttle services next month.

Of AQD’s two old 45-seater buses, one will be sold to pay for the repair of the other.

New service boat
AQD's new service boat stationed at the Igang Marine StationAQD’s Igang Marine Station (IMS) has a new multi-purpose flatboat to ferry visitors, cargo, and fingerlings.

The body of the boat was completed in May of this year and the tarpaulin roofing was finally installed this June.

At 40 feet long and 8 feet wide, the boat can safely transport 50 to 60 people according to Mr. AG Gaitan, IMS head and designer of the boat.

With its integrated flow-through water system, the boat can transport fingerlings from TMS to IMS with less handling and reduced transport-related mortality.

Water can be pumped in from the boat’s hull to fill the boat’s interior while a stand pipe maintains the water level. An exit sluice gate at the side of the boat can then release the fingerlings directly to the fish cages.

The body of the flatboat was constructed at an approximate cost of P 150,000 while its reconditioned Isuzu 4DR5 engine was taken from AQD’s Dumangas Brackishwater Station (DBS).