To this development, select staff members of the Department of Agriculture and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) attended a 14-day training event held on March 16-29, 2017 at the Aqua Farm Technologies Incorporated (AFTI), Coachella Valley, Thermal, California, USA.
This is part of the program implementation on Improving Tilapia Production through Manpower Development Program and BFAR Training of Trainors (ToT) for Improved Tilapia Farming Technologies. It aimed at boosting the tilapia production in the country through capacity building and rehabilitation of BFAR hatcheries and installation of renewable source of energy and feed formulation.
In BFAR-CAR, Regional Director Lilibeth L. Signey and Farm Manager Marx Perfecto C. Garcia attended the third batch of trainees with 22 participants.
AFTI is a fish farm and hatchery founded and run by Rocky French who is dedicated to producing the purest, best tasting seafood anywhere. It is housed in a 40-acre or 16-hectare area in a deserted place near the Salton Sea. It is also one of the premium quality tilapia producers in the global market particularly in Southern California because of its technical competence in aquaculture production having state-of-the-art production facilities and technology since 1993.
AFTI is the first farm to utilize a mechanical aerator to improve the oxygenation of its water; develop and implement a method of recycling its water; and generate a significant percentage of its power from solar. This is also the first farm to self-manufacture its own feed.
In terms of its facilities, AFTI is composed of assorted sizes of ponds in circular, rectangular and oval tanks with complete life support systems and accessories. Tilapia fingerlings are grown to be utilized for grow-out while marketable size tilapia are marketed in the nearby towns.
It has three deep-wells, which caters water supply. This serves as an underground water sources which has a high water temperature used during cold months, cold water deep well for summer and the deep well that has optimum water temperature used during regular breeding season. AFTI practices water recycling system. It maximizes the use of water and reduce water waste by recirculating back the water from the ponds and tanks.
According to Mr French, AFTI-CEO, one secret of the facility is a religiously maintenance monitoring of good water quality using the analog Yellow Springs Instrument Dissolved Oxygen or YSI DO meter This is a multi-parameter meter that provides extreme flexibility for the measurement of a variety of combinations for dissolved oxygen, conductivity, specific conductance, salinity, resistivity, total dissolved solids (TDS), pH, ORP, pH/ORP combination, ammonium (ammonia), nitrate, chloride and temperature.
The training course focused on intensive fingerling production of tilapia through an improved hatchery management, which includes the use of solar power system as alternative source of electricity to supply the whole station.
Part of the day to day learning module include hands-on activity on Intensive Tilapia Hatchery, Grow-out System, Feeds and Feedmill manual and machine-operated, malunggay (Moringa sp) plantation and farm related activities.
It includes the use of feed formulation and production as one of the primary factors in achieving better nutrition for the stocks and to reduce feeds cost.
Other technologies learned also are the use of “venturi” as one accessories in aquaculture production that help enhance the quality of its environment. This will administer the atmosphere oxygen from the water circulating system.
Highlighted in the training is the technology called “Circles of Life”. This is said to be similar to aquaponics that grows fish and plants together in one integrated system where fish waste provides an organic food source for the plants and the plants will act as biological water quality enhancer for the fish growth.
In Cordillera with insufficient supply of fingerlings, the knowledge and skills learned from the course is essential to improve various hatchery management practices to enhance and boost fish production. processes. Thus, in spite of its topography, the region is competent for inland fisheries production due to its abundant freshwater resources.
In fact, while tilapia is the most widely grown fish in Cordillera, some of the fish species that are being cultivated in the region are catfish, common carp, giant gourami, Japanese weather loach, pangasuis and red-bellied pacu.
From this, BFAR-CAR will adapt the following learnings to equip its technology outreach stations to produce sufficient fingerlings. First is the the conduct of regular water quality monitoring as it provides major parameters such as the DO, pH and others which are essential to the optimum survival of the cultured fish species.
Second is to improve egg collection system and practice artificial incubation to enhance quality broodstock production.
Third is the hatchery management and life support systems which were noted as one of the best practices of AFTI in continuous production of fry and fingerlings;
Then the use of solar power source as an environmental friendly and alternative source of energy; the Circle of life, Venturi and H-Hollow Block which can be a substitute to Cluster Backyard Fishpond (CBF) that caters the growth of both agriculture and fisheries commodities, enhances the quality of water being recirculated in the tanks and holds the water inside the tank.
Lastly was the feed formulation and Feed Mill Facilities which provides better nutrition of the cultured stocks, an advantage for the fish growth performance and development. This is to maximize the use of raw materials that are rich in nutrients available in Cordillera.
After the training event, participants were expected to prepare and develop a comprehensive procedures from the capacity building conducted. These learnings shall also be transfered through a re-echo activity when they go back to respective offices as well as to fisherfolk. hide this content