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Agriculture

BFAR sets production target for 2008

- Rose Dela Cruz -

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is targeting a production of 5.259 million metric tons of fish this year, up by 11 percent over last year with the growth coming mainly from aquaculture.

BFAR Director Malcolm Sarmiento Jr. said they hope to achieve this with the help of several interventions being applied at the community level.

For instance, BFAR has established 33 marine culture (mariculture) parks/zones in the country where at least 200 hectares will be delineated into a mixed-use marine zone for small, medium and big fishermen/investors. Another 11 mariculture parks will rise this year, bringing the total to 44.

In the zones, BFAR will provide the initial fingerlings so that these can be grown in inverted mosquito nets where sea water can flow freely. Catching is banned within a prescribed period inside the designated mariculture park.

Aside from mariculture parks, BFAR will promote organic aquaculture (gourami, grass carp and certain tilapia strains) in identified municipal waters.

It will also embark on deep sea mariculture parks for seaweeds, a sea-based cash crop, to help fishermen augment their incomes from fishing through alternative livelihood sources, saidd Gil Alora, BFAR assistant director.

BFAR will also intensify and promote the culture of abalone, sea cucumber and sea urchins—which all command very high prices here and abroad—to ensure that these sea delicacies can eventually become affordable even to the lower income groups, Sarmiento added.

Another group of high priced fishery products, which only a few people can buy regularly, are the groupers, seabass, vannamei or the freshwater shrimp—which BFAR will propagate in its facilities in Central Luzon but it will first import the larvae of these fishery resources.

BFAR will also intensify the production and promotion of ornamental fish culture to ensure supply for the pet shops and aquarium hobbyists.

To ensure better farm efficiencies and better revenues, BFAR will lease out its unproductive fishponds and develop the Liguasan Marsh for aquaculture.

It will also launch the cost reduction programs to enhance aquaculture production through natural food such as duckweeds, filamentous algae and planktons.

Researches will be intensified in: small pelagic resources in the South China Sea; a management plan for blue fin tuna using a Spanish government grant and the establishment of a marine industrial estate in Casiguran, Aurora.

For post harvest, BFAR will field insulated vans to link production areas with the market to reduce traditional marketing layers and construct a laboratory to ensure compliance by the processing industry to sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures and food safety standards.

For extension, credit and marketing support, BFAR will conduct market information caravans; coordinate with the Cooperatives Development Authority to strengthen existing coops to ensure that they link with lending and financing institutions and access markets for their products and start capacitating the most vulnerable sector—the small fisherfolk—to adapt to changing situations caused by climate change by teaching them new skills and become more flexible, Alora said.

BFAR

BUREAU OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES

CENTRAL LUZON

COOPERATIVES DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY

DIRECTOR MALCOLM SARMIENTO JR.

GIL ALORA

LIGUASAN MARSH

SEA

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