New laws to boost fisheries’ productivity – Villar

Cecille Suerte Felipe - The Philippine Star
New laws to boost fisheriesâ productivity â Villar
Sen. Cynthia Villar faces reporters in the senate building on Wednesday, June 1, 2022.
The STAR / Geremy Pintolo

MANILA, Philippines — The productivity of marine fisheries resources will get a boost as 11 measures on marine hatcheries have been enacted into laws, according to Sen. Cynthia Villar.

Villar said she sponsored the 11 local bills for the establishment of multi-species marine hatcheries in various locations nationwide during the 18th Congress.

The senator, who chairs the Senate committee on agriculture and food, has pushed for these measures to be enacted into law due to the high agriculture poverty incidence in the fisheries sector.

“The productivity of our marine fisheries resources has been declining because of environmental degradation and ineffective natural resources management,” she said.

She added that the significant reduction in the country’s fish catch has compromised the food sufficiency and income of our people.

Villar noted that the country’s fisheries sector provides an inexpensive source of animal protein for the population and livelihood for over one million Filipinos, and generates foreign exchange.

“With the growing population of the Philippines, fishing is one of the major industries seen as a positive contributor to the developing economy,” she said.

“Thus, the need for hatcheries to be established in our country, which provides the seed for aquaculture and some commercial fisheries,” she added.

A hatchery is where fish and shellfish are spawned, hatched and cared for, according to the senator.

She explained that the fish and shellfish remain at the hatchery until they are large enough to be transferred to a farm or released into the wild as part of a stock enhancement program.

The fishing industry sectors – commercial, aquaculture and shellfish farms require a steady, predictable source of juveniles from hatcheries to remain operational and provide a consistent product.

The mangrove crab or alimango farming industry delves into the trade of a high-value resource that accounts for a P5.2-billion industry and huge demand and high value in the international market. It also needs a steady source of crackers, according to Villar.

In 2019, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said 860.75 million fries were produced by registered bangus (milkfish) hatcheries in the country while 19.5 million were caught in the wild. This only accounts for 24 percent of the total annual fry requirement.

The senator said bangus fish farmers are forced to import fry to sustain annual production to compensate.

She added that the BFAR also reported that tilapia fry and fingerling production was 208.35 million in 2020 while the annual demand is 2.1 billion tilapia fingerlings.


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