Philippines to Intensify Promotion of Aquaculture

 Aquaculture's contribution to the Philippine economy is growing. The country's farmed seafood production increased 8.7 percent in 2008, outpacing total agriculture and fisheries production at 3.9 percent.

Due to the trend, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is stepping up promotional efforts for aquaculture. BFAR Director Malcolm Sarmiento said the timing is perfect to encourage fishermen to transition from harvesting to farming.

Many efforts to promote aquaculture are centralized in Mindanao, which produces 42 percent of the country's seafood.

BFAR Regional Director for Southern Mindanao George Campeon promotes freshwater shrimp farming. Campeon and his team are preparing a road show, in which a van will travel across the country to Davao City in May distributing information for fish farmers and fishermen interested in exploring freshwater shrimping.

While Campeon is busy promoting freshwater shrimp, former Speaker of the House Jose de Venezia promotes vannamei (Pacific white shrimp), which cohabitates well with milkfish. Venecia explained that vannamei can be bred in the 600,000 acres of existing milkfish ponds, potentially earning $1 billion from exports and providing more than 1 million new jobs.

In the meantime, Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Australian Ambassador for the Philippines Rod Smith last week inaugurated Marine Finfish Hatchery in Misamis Occidental Aquamarine Park, which is 70 percent funded by the Australian government through Philippines-Australia Local Support Program's provincial development facility.

The hatchery supplies grouper fingerlings to farmers in the province, which is heavily dependent on the coconut industry. 


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