Saturday, January 7, 2012

Aquaculture to provide more food for Filipinos

WITH the world population reaching seven billion, many countries may have to rely on aquaculture and sustainable fisheries practices to ensure enough supply of food in the coming years, the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (Seafdec) said.
Dr. Joebert Toledo, chief of Seafdec’s Aquaculture Department, said that the world is now relying more and more on aquaculture rather than capture fisheries, noting that climate change has affected the migration of pelagic fish.

“This is apparent in the absence of large schools of fish in traditional fishing grounds,” he said.
Toledo added that experts have also noted a shift in dietary preference for seafood, owing to health concerns. In view of this shift, he said that Seafdec has been working full blast on fine-tuning aquaculture practices best suited to expand the fish population in many areas of the Philippines.

“This is necessary to assure that there is enough food for the Filipino people, which is expected to hit the 100-million mark in no time,” Toledo said, citing that country is now importing anchovies (dilis), round scad (galunggong) and sardine (tamban).

Since 1976, Seafdec has been working on fish cage and fish pen culture, and basic research into the hatching, nutrition and diseases of fish and other marine resources helped in developing large fishponds and inland hatcheries of milkfish, grouper, snapper, sea bass and tilapia.

Earlier, the Department of Agriculture said that it alloted P1 billion from its 2012 national budget to finance an integrated community-based fisheries program to counter the threats of degradation of coastal ecosystems, climate change and globalization.

The fund shall partly be used to maintain 62 mariculture parks and nine regional and municipal fishports in the country, and for the provision of training and technical assistance to various areas in aquaculture, municipal, commercial, post-harvest, and regulatory bodies in support of the fishery industry.

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