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Capiceos get more gov't help for aqua-marine sector

PHILIPPINES - The Philippines government has been helping Capiceos to further sustain its aquaculture and marine production, particularly through technical assistance and support.

Provincial Agriculture chief Sylvia dela Cruz disclosed that the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) has been in partnership with the provincial government of Capiz and the Capiz State University (CapSU) for the Collaborative Fisheries Development Project.

The partnership is in line with the government's aim to reinvigorate the aquaculture and marine industry, particularly in addressing the current world market demand.

Known as the "Seafood Capital of the Philippines," Capiz has been primarily producing milkfish (bangus), prawn, mud crab, oyster, mussel, seaweeds and grouper.

The government is pushing the establishment of mariculture parks (MPs) throughout the country, which now number 31, to create more jobs and livelihood opportunities, particularly in areas such as Tawi-Tawi, the poorest province in the country.

A "mariculture highway" starting in Tawi-Tawi would be established as soon as mariculture parks all over the country can already produce enough volume of high-value aquaculture products such as fish, crab, shrimp, sea cucumber, abalone and seaweed, Malacañang said.

Director Malcolm Sarmiento of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said this highly-marketable and huge volume of cultured marine species would then attract buyers who will collect them in mariculture parks using the Strong Republic Nautical Highway en route to local and export markets.

The BFAR is envisioning a network of mariculture parks in both the western and eastern corridors of the country as trading post for cultured high-value fish and other marine species for both local and international markets.

Last year's commercial production of Capiz was recorded at 22,783 metric tons, 13,790 tonnes on municipal fishing and 33,860 tonnes on aquaculture, the province's Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) head Eric Piansay said.

Piansay said that compared to 2006 fishery production, last year's production noted a 7.79 per cent increase on commercial fishing; 5.07 per cent increase on municipal fishing production and a 12.39 per cent rise in aquaculture fishing production.