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Birth of Local Tilapia Industry Calls for Celebrations

by the Fish Site Editor
05 December 2008, at 12:00am

PHILIPPINES - Four thousand kilos of fresh tilapia yielded from fishponds in the province of Pampanga, Philippines, were grilled in a two-kilometer improvised griller to celebrate the success of the local tilapia industry.

The event, dubbed as Tilapia Grill Festival, was aimed at showcasing the banner commodity not only of the province of Pampanga but of the whole Central Luzon in the aquaculture sector - the tilapia.

Jointly organized by the Provincial Government of Pampanga and the Bureau of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources-Region 3, the activity formed part of the celebration of the 437th Aldo ning Kapampangan which has for its theme this year, "Musbung ing Panyulung king Pamisanmetung" (Progress springs up through Unity).

The tons of tilapia grilled during the affair were all an aggregate of contributions from three government entities: Pampanga Provincial Fisheries Office (2,000 kilos); BFAR (1,500 kilos); and Landbank (1,000 kilos), according to Lanie Lamiong, information officer of BFAR-3.

Meanwhile, BFAR Regional Director Remedios Ongtangco declared that tilapia now serves as the basic fish staple of every household replacing "galunggong" which is now a bit more expensive than the tilapia. Pampanga and the whole of Central Luzon take pride in having the tilapia industry as upbeat as it is now and yet the price of the fish itself remains within the means of the common people.

Pampanga, added Ontangco, distinguishes itself as the "Philippines' tilapia capital", it being the current largest producer of tilapia in the whole country. BFAR records show that in 2007, the province contributed as much as 80% to Central Luzon's tilapia produce and about 38% to the country's total tilapia produce.

Pampanga, in 2007, produced 93,357 metric tons of tilapia from its 3,685 tilapia growers. Regional tilapia production was recorded at 114,751 metric tons. Central Luzon contributed about 47.58% of the country's 241,171 metric tons of tilapia produce in the same year.

Central Luzon has a total area of 33,428 hectares for brackishwater fishpond and 8,837 hectares for freshwater fishpond.

Furthermore, Lamiong imparted that the region's tilapia produce is easily marketed as live or fresh (iced) in Greater Manila Area (GMA) and nearby provinces including Isabela, Cagayan Valley, Ilocos Norte, Apayao, Abra, Kalinga, La Union, Pangasinan and Cavite.

Lamiong also said that BFAR remains confident that the tilapia produce of Central Luzon will increase a considerable volume this 2008 and for the years to come due to the intensive campaign being conducted by the agency and its varied programs and services relative to tilapia production, consisting of quality broodstock/fingerling production and dispersal; support to provincial hatcheries; tilapia seeds certification project (hatchery accreditation program); and provision of trainings and technical assistance to tilapia growers.

When asked if there are plans of re-conducting the activity in the future, Lamiong revealed that the tilapia grill festival next year will aspire for a title in the Guinness Book of World Records.

the Fish Site Editor