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Saline Tilapia Research Completed in Dagupan

24 March 2014

PHILIPPINES - Saline tilapia, or tilapia mollibicus, was developed in Dagupan City through 15 years of research through the joint collaboration of Filipino and French scientists.

The research on saline tilapia was done at the 24-hectare National Integrated Fisheries Technology and Development Center (NIFTDC) in Barangay Bonuan Binloc, Dagupan City headed by Dr Westly Rosario, reports Balita.

Dr Westly Rosario hailed Dr Pierre Morrisens, a Belgian national working on aquaculture research for the French government almost 17 years in the Philippines, specifically Dagupan, in conducting the research on saline tilapia.

The research is now completed and scientists are now ready to present a draft manual to fishery technicians, representatives of the academe and local government units on how to raise saline tilapia in salty water to boost the fish supply for the dining table of Filipinos.

Rosario said Dr Morrisens, who will soon be heading back home as he is due for retirement, will be honored at the NIFTDC on Friday by letting him leave his footprints on a floor at the center for making one big giant step to improve aquaculture in the Philippines.

In that wall are the footprints of another scientist Dr Herminio Rabanal, now 94, from Alaminos City who once worked with the BFAR and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome.

Rosario explained that tilapia is basically a fresh water fish so that they have developed a hybrid species that thrives well on saline environment.

Mollubicus, according to Rosario, is as big as the fresh water tilapia called "pla-pla" but is definitely bigger than the native tilapia being raised in brackish water.

Therefore, it has a bigger and more promising commercial potential than the native tilapia.
The other difference that mollubicus has with native tilapia is that the former can be raised using the salty water in many coastal areas which are mostly idle.

Due to climate change which now brings repeated fishkills, the better fish to raise is not milkfish nor native tilapia that both thrive on brackish water, both of which are susceptible to fishkills, but saline tilapia or mollibicus, Rosario said.

Corollary to this, Rosario announced that the Iloilo State College of Fisheries will be made soon as a mollibicus satellite center of the main center in Dagupan City.

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