PHILIPPINES - The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is calling for more investments in hatcheries as Region 1 alone accounts for 25 per cent of milkfish production in the entire country, and needs some 600 million milkfish fry annually.
During the Regional Bangus Summit on April 23, BFAR Region 1 Director Nestor Domenden revealed that the most promising area of investments in the region today is on fish hatchery. The summit was held during the Dagupan Bangus Festival, reports Balita.
Of the 600 million bangus fry needed in Region 1 annually, about 100 million (pieces) are sourced out from Cagayan, another 100 million from Ilocos region, 150 million from Sarangani and the rest from Indonesia," Mr Domenden said.
"We call bangus as our national fish, yet it is imported from Indonesia," Mr Domenden told bangus stake holders from Pangasinan and Region 1 who attended the summit at Star Plaza Hotel.
He lauded the decision of a company Feed Mix to put up a fish hatchery in Labrador, Pangasinan even as he reported that another group is now securing permit, other regulatory papers and Environmental Compliance Certificate for another hatchery in Sual town.
He acknowledged that the owner of Star Plaza Hotel is now into fishery hatchery operation in Sual but admitted that its fry production, as well as those coming from other private hatcheries can not yet fill up the actual requirements of fish pond and fish cage operators in Pangasinan.
"Breeding hatchery is our key to our self-containment for our industry to stay," Mr Domenden said.
He revealed statistics showing that out that of the 401,000 metric tons of milkfish produced in the entire country annually, at least 25 per cent or 401 metric tons comes from Region 1, specifically Pangasinan.
The total fish production area in Region 1 includes some 825,000 hectares of municipal water whose control, management and conservation are under local government's authority; and another 25,000 hectares of fresh water.
However, only 12,225 hectares of brackish water and 1,425 hectares of fresh water are only being utilized and producing the fish that the people need in their dining tables.
Aquaculture or fish farming owns the biggest share of the total annual fish production in Region 1 in 2013, registering 77 per cent leaving capture fisheries a share of the pie of only 23 per cent.
Mr Domenden admitted that the growth area in fisheries is actually on aquaculture dominated by milkfish.
He said to further enhance the production of milkfish, BFAR established mariculture parks such as those located in Anda, Bolinao and Sual, Pangasinan and in Sto. Tomas, La Union.
Tagged by Mr Domenden as potential areas for expansion are Sual Bay facing the West Philippine Sea near the Zambales border where 774 hectares of municipal waters can be tapped; and part of the Agno River in Bugallon town.
At the same time, Mr Domenden urged fish farmers culturing bangus to diversify to other fish species like grouper (lapu-lapu, snapper, seabass, maya-maya, pampano and siganid (malaga) which are high-value fish for them to earn more.
He said that for fish farmers to earn, the fair floor price of milkfish in the market must be P125 per kilo.
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