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DA, BFAR technical staff train on Improved Tilapia Farming Technologies in California

By: Sarah Jane T. Ablaza | BFAR
With reports from Marx Perfecto C. Garcia

The fisheries sector is gaining grounds toward the technological advancement of ecologically sound methods of producing quality fishes as far as aquaculture is concerned. This has led to a more efficiently progressing and economically sustainable fishing industry.

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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.

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Tilapia-Taro Culture: an alternative livelihood of rice farmers in Ifugao

By: Rodelyn Q. Foronda & Cristifan A. Toring | BFAR

While it’s true that Cordillera has a sloping terrain, the region is famed for its majestic terraces contouring the mountain ranges. In the ancient times, terraces are believed to be purposively for growing rice since they were first built. Now, this became part of the culture that has clung to most traditions of the Cordillerans from time to time.

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However, with the advent of backyard aquaculture innovations in the Cordilleras, many enthusiast rice farmers are now venturing into raising fish as their alternative source of income during the rice-fallow period. Rice-fallow describes the period of growing rice from where the rice fields are plowed and tilled but left unseeded after harvest.

So this time, one of the various aquaculture interventions that the Bureau introduces to Ifugao farmers is the Tilapia + Taro Culture in the months of August to January during the rice fallow period. This culture system is the growing of fish simultaneously with taro. Taro is found suitable to this integrated farming system since growing taro is considered a staple crop in the locality.

In Ifugao, the traditional practice of rice production follows a seasonal calendar that originally use for a single rice cropping where the field is left fallow after harvest. Rice production in the province is based on nine landraces, the main one is Tinawon, an aromatic rice which means ‘Once a Year’ for it is produced only once a year.

According to the local rice farmers in Ifugao, during the fallow period, rice fields regains the soil fertility prior to the next cropping season. However, this indicates that during those months, farmers have no means of income generation from these resources. With this, the tilapia + taro culture was introduced in the towns of Aguinaldo and Mayoyao, Ifugao with two beneficiaries per municipality. This effort is aimed at maximizing the use of land resources which are conducive to fish production thereby generating alternative livelihood and produce food for the populace.

In Mayoyao, the two recipients who piloted the said project were Abraham Amejna of Barangay Bongan and Juliet Bakichan of Barangay Mapawoy. In Aguinaldo, recipients were Benito Hawihao and Rosa Balawag. Each of the recipient had an area of 500 square meters intended for the initial trial of the project.

From this, each recipient likewise received 21 bags of feeds and 10, 000 pieces of tilapia fingerlings as inputs for one cropping season. These fingerlings that were stocked last September 2016 came from the technology outreach stations of the Bureau in Ubao Fish Farm and Rizal Lowland Fish Farm.

Eight months after, a harvest festival was conducted last May of this year. It was simple ceremonial activity from where a partial harvest was undertaken. Hence, the initial harvest of Mr. Amejna reflected that in an area of 300 square meters, he harvested 91.5 kilos (4-6 pcs per kilo) from the 490 pieces of fish stocked. From this, he was able to have a gross sale of PhP 10, 980.00 at Php 120.00 per kilo and thus recorded a 112% Return of Investment (ROI). This means that the profitability ratio of the project has successfully gained.

“The identified areas for this trial was due to the availability of water and the need to maximize rice fields after harvest,” said RD Signey.

The Bureau’s mandates, according to Dr. Palma, is not only to provide fish seeds but more importantly to educate farmers with the basic aquaculture management on how fishes are cultured.

In response, Mayor Lumayna expressed his gratitude for identifying Mayoyao as one among the project recipients. He then encouraged fellow LGU constituents to be more cooperative to sustain the success of the project. Also, he assured his full support to any fishery projects that will benfit farmers in aiming to be the model municipality for further fishery development. “Without farmers, there is no food,” Mayor exclaimed.

This was seconded by Vice Mayor Jimmy Padchanan, Jr as he thanked the Bureau for its efforts in propagating more technology in their town benefiting more fisherfolk to gain lucrative revenue from fish farming. In addition, Sangguniang Bayan Committee Chairman on Agriculture Eugene L. Lim-ang advised the local fisherfolk to sustain various projects provided to them and the generated profit from every livelihood intervention shall be spent properly to further expand the project.

With this initial success, the recipient-co-operator of the projects encouraged other farmers to engage in other livelihood projects. Amejna further extended his gratitude to the Bureau and asking more technical support to improve production.

The other areas in Aguinaldo will be harvested next month together with the taro. Meanwhile, the Bureau and LGUs are working on the possible market outlets of the taro products in the nearby towns.

Regional Director Lilibeth L. Signey, Dr. Adelaida C. Palma, Center Chief of the National Inland Fisheries Technology Center, and Mayoyao Mayor Ronie H. Lumayna, together with his local officials attended the activity.

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MTF strengthens protection, conservation of Magat Dam

By: Jazy Mae Kindao | BSU DevCom Intern

To strengthen relationship and foster responsible use of the Magat reservoir between the fisherfolk, stakeholders and BFAR as partners in the conservation, a clean-up activity spearheaded by the Magat Task Force, was conducted last January 18 in Magat Dam, Ifugao.

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The Magat Task Force leads the clean-up activity along Magat Dam together with the fisherfolk from Purok 1 to Purok 14 of Alfonso Lista and Aguinaldo, Ifugao. Fisherfolk were encouraged to join the activity as they believed that they are the prime mover in the conservation and protection of the Magat river basin.

The Magat Task Force (MTF) is composed of Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR CAR and Region II), National Irrigation Administration (NIA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), SN-Aboitiz Power Inc. (SNAP-Magat), Local Government Units (LGU), and Integrated Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Management Council (IFARMC).

Apart from this activity, the task force is quarterly holding a consultative meeting to discuss issues pertaining to other activities such as water quality monitoring, stocking of fingerlings, training on fiberglass boat making and tree planting of watershed. This is to enhance the capability of fisherfolk in the management effort of the organization.

To date, Tilapia Festival is being organized to further boost the tilapia industry in promoting the latest trends in tilapia culture. It has been noted that in Cordillera, Ifugao shares half of the total fish production in the area.

Thus, aims to encourage fisherfolk and other stakeholders to adapt good aquaculture practices and technologies in maximizing the use of available inputs

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Abra marks centennial; BFAR awards project

By: Rodelyn Q. Foronda | BFAR

Showcasing various fisheries interventions through involvement in momentous town festivities gives the Bureau an opportune time to promote its services. Festivities mark special gatherings that strengthen network of people in the local communities.

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This year, the province of Abra celebrates its centennial foundation with an eventful grand activities last March 5-12. In this light, Regional Director Lilibeth L. Signey conveyed to the crowd the Bureau’s program and projects being implemented in the province.five select organizations were awarded fresh marketable size tilapia as part of the Bureau’s Barangay Fish Terminal (BFT) program in the municipalities of Bucloc, Daguioman, Dolores, Malibcong, and Manabo. Each recipient received 200 kilograms of marketing tilapia (5-6 pieces a kilo), one unit 10kg-capacity weighing scale and fice Styrofoam boxes (40kgs capacity).

Recipients include Lamao Women’s Association, Daguioman United Tinguians Multipuspose Cooperative, Talogtog Farmers’ Association, Legsad Labo Irrigators Association, and San Ramon Farmers’ Multi-Purpose Cooperative. It was received by their respective presidents as follows: Melody C. Valera, Johnson Cardenas, Aida T. Valeros, Gibson D. Labbagan, and Anastacia P. Bejarin. This was conducted in celebration of the Abra’s Centennial Foundation Anniversary last March 5, 2017.

The BFT program of the Bureau aims to establish a marketing network for the continuous distribution of fish and fishery products to remote areas where source of fish is scarce.

The awarding was done at the Abra Sports Complex while the distribution of said projects was conducted at the Provincial Fishery Office in Barangay Calaba, Bangued, Abra spearheaded by Regional Director Lilibeth Signey, Provincial Fishery Officer Jesus M. Astrero, OIC-FPHMS Prescila Maramba.

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Electro-fishing incidents spotted in Abra

By: Jerymy Bernardo | BSU DevCom Intern
With reports from FMRED

Amid the intensified enforcement of Republic Act 10654 or an act to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUUF), two separate incidents of electro-fishing were spotted in the towns of Langiden and Dolores, Abra. These cases have been reported at the Abra Police Station and Dolores Municipal Police Station last February.

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Reports from the Langiden police revealed two unidentified persons were seen to have been illegally catching fish with the use of electricity (battery-operated) at the river bank of Barangay Quillat, Langiden in Abra.

According to Police Senior Inspector Roberto Terminez, at about 1:30 AM on February 17, Barangay Kagawad Jimmy Britanico of Quilliat, Langiden called the Abra Police Station informing them that two persons were cited catching fish using electro-fishing device along the river.

Terminez added that upon approaching the suspects, they scampered away through a bamboo raft across the river going to Barangay Sta. Rosa in Bangued leaving their electro-fishing gadgets. Among the seized gears include two 12 volts battery packs, electrical devices, two wired rod with bamboo connection, two bamboo fishing nets (sagoy) and a fishing net containing different species of fish weighing close to one kilo. The seized items were turned-over to Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources–CAR (BFAR-CAR) Provincial Fishery Office in Calaba, Bangued, Abra.

Meanwhile in Dolores, Police Senior Inspector Mathew T. Burgos and the personnel of Dolores Municipal Police Station (MPS) were conducting a foot patrol when they encountered a male person crossing the river with an electrical equipment used for fishing, together with the number of alleged electrocuted fish.

The suspect was arrested and identified as Alvin Zapata, 34, a farmer from Barangay Bayaan, Dolores. The confiscated gadget and fishes caught were brought to the police station as proof. Zapata was detained and criminal complaint has been filed in violation of Section 92 of the RA 10654 which prohibits fishing through the use of explosives, noxious or poisonous substances, or electricity.

If convicted, Zapata may face an imprisonment of six months, a fine of P5,000, or both. Unreported and unregulated fishing refers to fishing activities that do not comply with national, regional, or international fisheries conservation or management legislation or measures.

Fishing with the use of electricity is prohibited mainly because it affects the reproductive system not only of the fish caught, but those not caught as well which may result in the deterioration of biodiversity in the area.

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Ifugao, MP get assistance to propagate loach in Cordillera

By: Rodelyn Q. Foronda | BFAR

The provinces of Ifugao and Mt. Province received assistance of 3.5 million pesos through fund transfer for the improvement of an existing loach hatchery and establishment of additional hatcheries to speed up production.

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This Japanese Oriental Weather Loach (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus) also called yu-yu is a good source of protein. It integrates well with rice, thereby increasing productivity per unit of land.

Loach has high market value ranging from Php 500.00 to 1, 000.00 per kilogram. The availability of this species vary depending on the demand of consumers and farming practices in the area.

Loach hatcheries in Cordillera are located in La Trinidad Regional Fish Farm in Benguet and Mayoyao in Ifugao. The availability of fingerlings for stocking in farmers’ fields has generated livelihood to fisherfolk even in nearby provinces.

Meanwhile, aside from the Loach Hatchery Project in Mayoyao, Ifugao, additional improvements were then again awarded to the municipality. This was conducted in light of the Igkhumtad ad Majawjaw celebration which bears the theme “Boosting Tourism through Showcase of Historical and Cultural Activities”.

In this light, the Bureau awarded check amounting to 1.2 Million pesos for further development of the Loach Hatchery, and one generator set. The project components include shaded concrete tanks, improvement of laboratory and breeding area and water system, and other hatchery supplies. These will aid to sufficiently produce more fingerlings to meet market clamor. Mayor Ronnie Lumayna together with its constituents received the award.

In Mt. Province, the towns of Tadian and Bauko received Php 600, 000.00 each intended for the establishment of loach hatchery. The project components include construction of loach hatchery building, shaded concrete tanks and other hatchery supplies for the full production operation of the facility.

The cooperators, Augusto N. Papsa-ao, Jr of Bila, Bauko and Satur B. Tigan of Balaoa, Tadian, provided a parcel of land or 200 square meters for the project for the period of 25 years which is renewable for another same period.

Upon completion of the projects, the LGUs shall return to the Bureau in five years the 10% of the total produce per production cycle. The produced fingerlings will be distributed to local fisherfolk as livelihood assistance while others will be stocked to communal bodies of water in said towns.

In addition, the LGUs must create a trust fund for the generated income as part of the sustainability measure of the hatchery. Said income will be used for its operation and other maintenance purposes.

While the Php 550,000 worth was for the rehabilitation of the existing loach hatchery at the La Trinidad Regional Fish Farm. It intends for the construction of second floor and incubation tanks. The remaining amount was used for the purchase of 545 bags of vermicast and other hatchery supplies in the area.

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BFAR, Baguio City Vet seize fish caught through blast fishing

By: Rodelyn Q. Foronda | BFAR
With reports from FMRED

Fishes suspected to have been caught through dynamite fishing and being sold at the Baguio City public market were confiscated during a joint market inspection of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR-CAR) and the Baguio City Veterinary Office.

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More or less 70 kilos of dalagang bukid or fusilier (Caesio sp./Ptaerocaesio sp.), which manifested features that these were caught using explosives, were confiscated.

Fish vendor Berto Quero said he bought and transported the fish from Agoo, La Union to be sold at the said market. The produce had loose scales, especially at the mid-portion of the body.

After discovery, the team conducted an on-the-spot examination, which further revealed that the internal organs of fish were crushed and mixed with blood, with its air bladder ruptured and filled with blood. They concluded that the fishes were caught by means of explosives. It has been noted that only fish examiners duly authorized by the Bureau shall be qualified to determine that the fish are caught by explosives.

Blast fishing or dynamite fishing is the practice of using explosives to stun or kill schools of fish for easy collection. This causes destruction of fishery resources where fish and other aquatic products breed and grow; death or disability of adult and juvenile fishes and other living aquatic organism.

It can likewise injure the person using this illegal method of fishing.

Blast fishing is a violation of Section 92 of the RA 8550 as amended by RA 10654 or An Act to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing.

It further provides that the discovery of any fish or species caught with the use of explosives or noxious or poisonous substances shall constitute a prima facie presumption that the possessor, seller, fish dealer, transporter, importer, or exporter thereof has knowledge that the fish or species was caught or taken in violation of the Code.

Upon a summary finding of administrative liability, the offender shall be punished with an administrative fine of P50, 000.00 - P200, 000.00 or five times the value of fish or species, whichever is higher, and confiscation of the same, or criminal liability with an imprisonment of six months to two years.

The confiscated fish were brought at the BFAR Regional Office for further analysis and later turned-over to the the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and at the Silungan Center of the City’s Social Welfare Development Office.

This is in compliance to Fisheries Administrative Order (FAO) 206 that those fish confiscated and determined to be still fit for human consumption shall be distributed to charitable or penal institution.

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