BFAR Promotes Sustainable Fish Farming
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is reaffirming its commit to promote sustainable fish farming throughout the country.
As part of this commitment, it will be holding seminars, live fish display and other interactive activities at the Agrilink 2010 which will be held on October 7 to 9 at the World Trade Center Metro Manila, Pasay City.
This year’s team of Agrilink is “Good Agricultural Practices: Key to Competitiveness..” The event will bring together local and international suppliers and exhibitors, highlighting the latest technologies and inputs that will improve sustainability of the interconnected industries of food, agriculture and aqualcuture.
BFAR’s intensified activities in promoting fish production is brought about by a steadily increasing demand for fish and aquaculture products, both for the local market and export destinations like the United States, Japan and the European Union.
BFAR’s recent projects focus on aquaculture practices that address the challenges of quality and safety in fisheries products, climate change and globalization, acceptability standards in international markets and efforts to increase the overall sustainability and productivity of fish farming communities.
BFAR’s Director Malcolm Sarmiento explained, “Now that we have the expertise to raise major aqua-farmed commodities like shrimp, tilapia and milkfish, we will focus on the social and economic potential of high-value species such as shellfish, crab, sea cucumber, abalone, scallops, seaweed and groupers, as well as backyard cultures of sea urchin. For instance, Tawi-tawi is already harvesting 361,00 metric tons of seaweeds annually.”
BFAR’s master plan includes ongoing construction of hatcheries of high-value marine species, as well as improvements of existing private hatcheries for their brood stock. They will also focus on aquaculture propagation by catching breeders from the wild using eco-friendly technologies.
Sarmiento added: “Traditionally, fishers use a trial-and-error checking method for catching species like lapu-lapu, which sometimes end up killing the fish. Right now, we are currently implementing a pilot brood stock development project in Dipolog. We will be using underwater cameras that can go deep to help the fishers determine what species can be caught and to determine the proper sequence of bringing the fish traps to the surface.
Developing mariculture park networks, which have been unveiled in Tawi-tawi and nearby islands of Sibutu and Sitangkai, is also part of BFAR’s master plan to promote the propagation of high-value fishes, particularly groupers, sea urchin and abalone. Sarmiento added: “These projects will create more livelihood opportunities and increase the fishermen’s income. BFAR envisions these mariculture parks as networks serving as trading posts for high-value fisheries, which will enable vessels with ‘live wells’ to ply nautical highways to pick up live fish enroute to local and international markets.”