AQD organizes and hosts FAO expert workshop

“On-farm feeding and feed management in aquaculture” was the topic of the expert workshop that AQD organized and hosted for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) at the request of its Aquaculture Service (FIRA) from 13 to 15 September in Manila.

From the global synthesis, regional reviews, and case studies in eight countries, the experts agreed that (1) generally, the use of high quality feeds does not necessarily mean high returns, but that (2) feed management protocols on-farm can significantly reduce costs by 15-20% and thereby increase profits of fish farmers. An illustration of the second point is the experience of a farmer in Vietnam, Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Hai, who heads a 36-member cooperative raising catfish. In his presentation, Mr. Nguyen said they are getting a benefit of about VND 923 (US$ 0.05) per kg fish when they reduced their feeding from twice to once a day even though the culture period was longer by a month or so. Considering that the cooperative produces 150,000 tons, the savings from feed management is substantial. He also said their farms have less disease incidence and the less-fatty catfish are more acceptable to processors.

The workshop identified these main issues in on-farm feeding and management: (1) limited access of farmers to information on feed and feed ingredients as regards their availability, prices and quality; (2) poor feed preparation and processing at the farm level; (3) lack of monitoring of feed and farm performances; (4) weak extension and dissemination of new strategies on improved feeding management (like alternate or skip feeding); (5) gaps in the understanding of the economic aspects of feed management; (6) need to develop health indicators for farm stock and integrate these to feed management; and (7) need for mechanisms to regulated feed quality. There were 47 participants, 10 AQD staff and 5 observers who attended and listened to results of farm surveys in Bangladesh, China, India, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam, Egypt and Ghana.

AQD Chief Dr. Joebert Toledo (3rd from left) and Mr. Kazuyuki Tsurumi (5th from right) at the opening of the workshop AQD Chief Dr. Joebert Toledo, on the other hand, outlined AQD’s historical work on feed development and its role in assisting private sector development through the promotion of science-based, sustainable aquaculture technologies and practices. While Mr. Kazuyuki Tsurumi, the FAO representative in the Philippines, reiterated FAO’s commitment to helping countries manage their fisheries and aquaculture sectors effectively.

The species covered in the workshop include Nile tilapia, Indian major carps, striped catfish, whiteleg shrimp, tiger shrimp and freshwater prawn.


The workshop organizers Dr. Relicardo Coloso and Dr. Mae Catacutan (of AQD) flanking Dr. Mohammad Hassan of FAO-FIRA

Nutrition experts Dr. Albert Tacon and Dr. Sena de Silva









The participants deciding on priority recommendations

AQD signs accords with WorldFish and a private entity

WorldFish Center Director-General Dr. Stephen Hall and AQD Chief Dr. Joebert Toledo AQD and the Malaysia-based WorldFish Center signed a memorandum of understanding on 21 July in Penang, Malaysia for joint research & training activities, exchanges of experts, and co-ownership of intellectual property of research results in the area of sustainable small-scale aquaculture development. WorldFish Director-General Dr. Stephen Hall and AQD Chief Dr. Joebert Toledo signed on behalf of their respective institutions.

AQD also has a new agreement signed 16 September with a private company, the Singapore-based GAIA Mariculture, to provide technical assistance and extend its science-based

technologies on integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) in the GAIA farm in Cebu, the Philippines. The IMTA project involves sea cucumber, pompano & seaweeds, and will also seek the collaboration of human communities in Ronda Bay area in aquatic conservation measures.

AQD garners best research awards

AQD scientist Dr. MR Eguia (center) receiving her trophyAQD scientist Dr. Maria Rowena Eguia received the prestigious Dr. Elvira O. Tan Memorial Award for her paper on Genetic changes during mass selection for growth in Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus (L), assessed by microsatellites. The paper was recognized as the Best published paper in aquaculture and inland fisheries by the Philippine Department of Science & Technology in a ceremony held 27 July at Los Baños, Laguna.

Dr. Eguia and her co-authors -- Dr. Minuro Ikeda, Dr. Zubaida Basiao, and Dr. Nobuhiko Taniguchi -- worked on the National Inland Fisheries Institute (NIFI) or Chitralada Nile tilapia strain, noting that there were changes in both the control (unselected) and selected (or improved) tilapia in terms of genetic diversity indices (alleles, heterozygosity, and inbreeding rate). They concluded that inbreeding levels in aquatic animal stocks can be detected using genetic markers, information that would be useful in formulating effective stock management protocols to minimize stock deterioration.

AQD Senior Technical Assistant Ms. Dianne Hope TormonAnother AQD research staff, Ms. Dianne Hope Tormon, was awarded the Best scientific paper for her work on Identifying women’s roles in sustainable aquaculture livelihood development: experiences from the oil spill crisis in Guimaras Strait in the Philippines during the 5th National conference of the national network on women in fisheries in the Philippines that was held 15-17 September in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines.

Ms. Tormon co-wrote the paper with AQD’s associate scientist Dr. Nerissa Salayo and socioeconomist Mr. Renato Agbayani, noting that the women were interested in every livelihood option and were willing to learn new skills to augment household income. Aquaculture offers opportunities for the productive use of skills of both genders but the activities are different though interrelated.

GOJ Trust-funded projects at AQD are reviewed

L-R: Ms. Frances Nievales, Mr. Antonio Pasaylo, Mr. Bobby Togle, and Dr. Nerissa SalayoTo ensure that AQD’s research efforts under GOJ-TF5 (Government of Japan Trust Fund Cycle 5) are on track and on schedule, a semi-annual progress meeting was held 13-15 July and 26 July. AQD Deputy Chief and GOJ-TF co-manager Dr. Teruo Azuma presided over the meeting, encouraging feedback and active discussion from the AQD study leaders who presented their preliminary results.

TF5 focuses on four areas namely: (1) promotion of sustainable and region-oriented aquaculture practices, (2) food safety of aquaculture products in Southeast Asia, (3) accelerating awareness and capacity-building in fish health management in Southeast Asia, and (4) resource enhancement of internationally threatened and over-exploited species in Southeast Asia through stock enhancement. This new set of projects is being implemented from 2010 to 2014 under the ASEAN-SEAFDEC Strategic Partnership (ASSP) of the Fisheries Consultative Group mechanism.

AQD holds training on abalone, marine fish, freshwater aquaculture

Eleven trainees completed AQD’s International training course on abalone hatchery and grow-out which ran 8-28 July. The trainees were from Malaysia (2), Philippines (8), and South Korea (1) with three of them sponsored by GOJ. In this course, lectures and practical sessions included abalone biology, principles of hatchery & seed production, feeds & feeding, principles of sustainable aquaculture, grow-out culture, industry experience of growing abalone, biology & grow-out culture of seaweeds, and financial feasibility & market potential of abalone. The trainees also visited a seaweed farm, AQD’s Dumangas Brackishwater Station, and a private abalone hatchery.

AQD scientist Ms. Myrna Teruel (in violet) supervising the trainees during feed preparationTrainees prepare larval food

Trainees fabricate nets

Trainees sample abalone larvae 5 days after stocking

Julius Lucky, the sole participant from the Marshall Islands A lone participant from the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean attended the month-long Special training on the hatchery of selected marine fishes which started August 10.

From April 23–24, 40 fishfarmers from northern Philippine towns in Rizal were in attendance for the Training on freshwater prawn and tilapia that was conducted in Filipino and in coordination with the Asian Social Institute. The course covered biology, how to rear prawns and tilapia in net cages including feeding management, and socioeconomic considerations in culture and marketing. There was also a practical session on the morphological identification of prawn broodstock and its larval stages.

Trainees of the freshwater fish  breeding and farming course with  BFA head Engr. Emiliano Aralar (2nd  from left)Another course, Freshwater fish breeding and farming, was held May 17 through June 4, with three international participants. Two were from Burkina Faso, and funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The third participant was from the Freshwater Fishery Research Center (FFRC) in Wuxi, China whose participation is in partial fulfillment of an existing agreement between FFRC and AQD. The course included an overview of freshwater culture, site selection & water quality monitoring, biology & induced spawning, larval rearing & growout, and nutrition & feeding of Asian catfish, freshwater prawn, bighead carp and tilapia.

AQD promotes aquaculture at two fairs

Guests of honor BRAF Assistant Director Gil Adora, UPV Chancellor Dr. Minda Formacion, and AQD Chief Dr. Joebert Toledo during the FishLink 2010 exhibit openingAQD Technology Verification & Demonstration Head Dr. Ma. Rowena Eguia talks about advances in tilapia cultureJoining two fairs in the Philippines, AQD was able to promote its small-scale aquaculture technologies and technical assistance program for entrepreneurs. The first was in FishLink 2010, organized by the University of the Philippines Aquaculture Society and held 20-22 September in Iloilo City. AQD fielded nine of its experts to handle short talks on various cultured species and resource enhancement for local governments.

Some of the student & teacher participants of the S&T fairIn the Science and technology fair organized by the Department of Science and Technology from 15 to 17 September in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, western Philippines, AQD presented the mechanics of the Agree-build-operate-transfer (ABOT) aquabusiness program. The audience, which included the Palawan Live Fish Traders Association, was mostly interested in grouper cage culture.

AQD at fish health symposium in the USA

AQD Associate Scientist Dr. Ma. Michelle Peñaranda presented her paper entitled Specificity of DNA vaccines against  the U and M genogroups of infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV) in rainbow trout (Oncorhyncus mykiss) during the 6th International symposium for aquatic animal health held September 4-9 in Florida, USA. Her travel was sponsored by the University of Washington.

In additional to the symposium, Dr. Peñaranda was able to present AQD’s facilities and research interests at the Western Fisheries Research Center - US Geological Survey, Seattle, USA on September 21.

AQD holds strategic planning and review meeting

The participants of the strategic planning and review meetingStarting 2011, AQD will steer into new directions as outlined during the In-house strategic planning and review conducted September 28-30 at AQD’s main station in Iloilo.

AQD Chief Dr. Joebert Toledo emphasized that AQD will shift from taking on a commodity-based approach to adopting a thematic approach, specifically, having program themes based on the Regional technical consultation on aquaculture (RTC) held in March 2010.

In order to come up with a modified five-year strategic plan (2012-2015), AQD senior staff discussed in plenary and small-group workshops the harmonization of the 2009-2012 strategic plans with the five RTC themes. They also determined major gaps in current technologies, suggested priority R & D areas (i.e., research and information-education-communication), made action plans, and identified potential collaborations.

The RTC themes are: (1) meeting social and economic challenges; (2) supply of good quality seeds; (3) healthy and wholesome aquaculture; (4) maintaining environmental integrity through responsible aquaculture; (5) adapting to climate change.

AQD Chief Dr. Joebert Toledo The Chief noted that although there are many proposed plans of action, issues on limited financial and human resources remain. “Let us consider these constraints as a challenge... Being a dynamic institution, AQD needs to be always at the forefront of any development, which is in line with AQD’s vision, and that is, to be a global leader in the generation of science-based technologies.” Thanking the staff for their active participation, the Chief encouraged everyone to “move together, move forward and work together, and bring a good future for AQD.”

The group working on how to meet social and economic challenges

AQD senior staff discuss the theme 'supply of good quality seeds'

The group working on the theme 'adapting to climate change'

Updated events: training courses





29 September –19 October

Iloilo, Philippines

Training Course on Abalone Hatchery and Grow-out


6-22 October

Iloilo, Philippines

Special Training Course on Crab Seed Production and Grow-out


12 – 26 October

Iloilo, Philippines

1st Training Course on Seed Production and Nursery of Sandfish (Holothuria scabra)


8 – 17 November

Iloilo, Philippines

Training Course on Community-based Freshwater Aquaculture


22 November –4 December


Special Training Course on Fish Nutrition


New publication

RPS-cover-front Reforming Philippine Science, 95 pages, is an edited compilation of articles, previously posted in websites or published as newspaper articles, by Raul Suarez and Flor Lacanilao. Suarez is a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, USA. Lacanilao is a retired Professor of Zoology at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, former Chancellor of UP Visayas, and former Chief of SEAFDEC/AQD. The authors argue for the importance of science as the foundation of technological development and economic progress. They draw on various sources to argue that scientific literacy is essential to the health of democracy and of society. The book is published by AQD with funding from the US National Science Foundation.