Cagayan Valley country’s tilapia capital
- Charlie Lagasca () - January 13, 2008 - 12:00am

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan – If you’re buying a kilo or more of tilapia today, chances are, they are from Cagayan Valley.

According to Hermogenes Tambalque, extension chief of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in the region, tilapia production here is on the upswing, with the region now emerging as the Philippines’ tilapia capital, posting an all-time high record production of the fish, known also as Saint Peter’s fish.

BFAR said homegrown supply for the delectable tilapia has been growing by 37.25 percent for the past five years, reaching last year’s production high of nearly 14,000 metric tons (MT).  

Fishery officials led by Dr. Jovita Ayson, BFAR regional director speaking during a recent aquaculture congress here, attributed the growth of tilapia production to government interventions. Among these, she said, were the provision of fast-growing species, accreditation of private hatcheries to ensure supply of quality fingerlings, establishment of demonstration farms and continued technical assistance as well as marketing strategies.

This also included providing free fingerlings to newly constructed fishponds, a strategy which resulted in the dissemination of tilapia in the region as far south as Nueva Vizcaya, especially in Diadi town where the region’s most delectable tilapia is harvested.

In fact, this dissemination has created many success stories in tilapia farming throughout the region, one of the most prominent being those of former cycling champion Lupo Alava who now is a multi-awarded tilapia raiser in Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya.

“Thanks to the tilapia production I started, I am now more secure financially,” said Alava, whose pedal-pushing exploits were eagerly awaited by local aficionados just a little before the advent of townmate Carlo Guieb, a three-time Marlboro cycling king.

Indeed, the great potentials of the industry have even attracted such bigwigs as Chairman Thompson Lantion of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, a retired two-star police general, who had invested much of the money he received as retirement pay from more than 30 years’ police service in fishponds in his native village of La Torre in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya.

“We are encouraging our constituents to also enter into the aquaculture industry as it not only shows great possibility for development, it could be a good source of income to sustain the family’s needs,” said Nueva Vizcaya Gov. Luisa Lloren Cua­resma, whose administration has also entered into similar aquaculture endeavors in addition to tilapia production.

BUREAU OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES CARLO GUIEB CHAIRMAN THOMPSON LANTION OF THE LAND TRANSPORTATION FRANCHISING AND REGULATORY BOARD DR. JOVITA AYSON HERMOGENES TAMBALQUE NUEVA VIZCAYA TILAPIA
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