The hatchery, a joint project of the school and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) regional office, was funded under the Philippine National Aquasilviculture Program (PNAP).
Felix Abugan, BFAR project coordinator, said they started collecting fingerlings since late March and have harvested 40,000 pieces so far.
The fingerlings were stocked in the school’s fishponds while the succeeding production will be offered for dispersal to fishpond and fish cage operators in the area, Abugan said.
The hatchery produces saline tolerant tilapia using the BEST (Brackishwater Enhanced Saline Tilapia) strain from the BFAR national center in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.
On the other hand, Mr Florencio Gauat, school principal, said the hatchery serves as instructional facility in aquaculture where students can have hands on training in fish breeding. "With the CBMSH, the school has made a great advance in its dream of becoming a center of excellence in fingerling production,” the princiapl said.
Mr Gauat added that the project likewise covers the needed training facilities in fisheries for K to 12 curriculum.
Dr Milagros Morales, BFAR Assistant Regional Director and PNAP head, pointed out that the hatchery is crucial towards the development of the aquaculture potential of northern Cagayan.
“The coastal municipalities have very vast potential mainly due to the numerous water bodies doting the area. However, these areas are hardly utilised for fish farming partly due to the inadequate source of quality fingerlings,” Morales explained.
“Actually, we already placed an order to the school for our stocks for techno-demo and livelihood projects,” Morales added.
Apart from saline tilapia, the school also has red tilapia which they plan to breed and introduce in the coming months. Red tilapia can be used as an analogue for more pricey fish like maya-maya and snapper.
The PNAP, a brainchild of BFAR National Director Atty. Asis G. Perez, aims to rehabilitate the mangrove areas of the country for aquasilvi culture, ensure resource sustainability, attain food security and alleviate poverty.