DA allots P1.9B for aquaculture, fisheries
() - January 8, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Agriculture is allotting P1.9 billion this year to implement major aquaculture and fisheries initiatives, including an integrated, pro-poor and community-based fisheries and aquaculture program. 

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said the program aims to produce adequate supply of quality, world-class, yet affordable fishery and aquaculture products, and at the same time lift small fisherfolk families from abject poverty. 

The program, spearheaded by the DA’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), involves implementation of major initiatives that include the following:

• Implementation of an integrated community-based multi-species hatchery and aqua-silviculture projects.

• Establishment and maintainance of 62 mariculture parks and nine regional and municipal fishports.

• Expansion and intensification of the “cage-for-livelihood” program.

• Provision of training and technical assistance in various areas in aquaculture, municipal, commercial, post-harvest, and regulatory services.

• Establishment of hatcheries and nurseries.

• Implementation of Coastal Resource Management projects.

• Operation of the Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) System.

• Ensure compliance with global food safety standards.

• Active participation in the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI).

Alcala said the establishment of community-based hatcheries and aquasilvi or mangrove farms is the DA’s flagship program to provide poor marginal fisherfolk families with income and employment opportunities and make them self-sufficient.

 Under the aquasilvi program, or raising of fish in mangrove areas, participating fishermen will plant mangrove trees and will be trained on how to raise high-value species such as lapu-lapu (grouper) in tandem with alimango (mudcrabs) and tilapia.

 BFAR Director Asis Perez said his agency has allotted P280.8 million for the program, and has initially identified 31 coastal areas where the program will be implemented.

The BFAR has forged an agreement with 40 institutional partners that will serve as project managers of 11,700 hectares of community-based multi-species hatcheries. 

Each hectare shall be planted with 3,000 mangrove propagules. Participating fisherfolk families will be paid up to P5.50 per mangrove (P1.50 for the planting material, P2 for planting and P2 for every tree that survives). Hence, each family could earn up to P16,500 per hectare. 

Further, participating aquasilvi fisher-families will be provided with nets to enclose the mangrove area, making it their own fishing ground. 

Canals will be dug as growing sanctuaries, while excess fish may be set free into the wild to increase the fish population for other municipal fishers. 

Perez said aquasilvi fishers may choose to raise fish for their own consumption and sell the excess. They may also consolidate their catch with other aquasilvi fishers and sell their harvest to institutional buyers and markets.  

“What is significant about this program is that government money will directly benefit fishermen and their families, create more job opportunities, and importantly result to improving and protecting our aquatic resources,” Perez said.

AGRICULTURE SECRETARY PROCESO J ALCALA BULL BUREAU OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES CONTROL AND SURVEILLANCE CORAL TRIANGLE INITIATIVE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE DIRECTOR ASIS PEREZ IMPLEMENTATION OF COASTAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
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