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Aquaculture Output Now Half Philippines' Marine Total

PHILIPPINES - Aquatic farming contributed more than half of the country's total marine production in 2010. As well as traditional farming of bangus and tilapia, high-value species have been included in mix in recent years.

The Philippines is keeping up with global aquatic farming trends as indicated by the rising share of aquaculture in the country's marine production, reports Business World Online.

Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Director, Malcolm I. Sarmiento, Jr., said aquaculture raised its share to 51 per cent of the country's marine production last year.

Citing 2010 production data, he said aquaculture ranked first among the three fishery subsectors in the country with a harvest of 2.7 million metric tons (mmt). Municipal water yield was only 1.2mmt, while commercial fishing operations produced only 1.1mmt, he added.

"This is the trend worldwide. Data shows that production coming from aquaculture all over the world already represents about 50% of the total global supply of fish," Mr Sarmiento said during the recent inauguration of a multi-species hatchery in Guiuan.

He continued: "The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations projects that in less than five years, aquaculture would be the major source for fish in the world."

Aquaculture refers to farming of aquatic organisms. It implies some form of intervention in the rearing process to enhance production.

The most common activity is the establishment of fish ponds, fish cages and mariculture zones.

Mr Sarmiento said that they have been intensely promoting aquaculture since the early 1990s to offset the decline in fish catch and ease pressure on the country’s distressed seas.

He said: "There is now a campaign to have our operators make the shift from hunting to farming. Our duty is to assist by providing fingerlings through hatcheries disseminating technologies and undertaking research to improve technologies."

In the past, aquaculture was concentrated on raising bangus (milkfish)and tilapia.

Recently, the government has expanded its coverage to include high-value species of giant clams, sea cucumber, blue crab, seaweeds, abalone, pangasius and other commodities.

"We are in the position to become a major player in the multi-million business of raising, culturing, breeding and processing products coming from aquaculture because of our climatic conditions," Mr Sarmiento told Business World Online. "We may not have the technology but we have all the area for aquaculture. That gives us an advantage."

the Fish Site Editor

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