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Philippines to promote culturing of new tilapia hybrid

by 5m Editor
12 October 2006, at 1:00am

THE PHILIPPINES - Philippines' Fisheries officials are promoting the culturing of a new tilapia hybrid among fisherfolks and fishpond growers in Zamboanga Peninsula.

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Traditionally, milkfish and shrimp have been cultured in brackish-water fishponds. However, because of a shortage of milkfish fingerlings and fry, tilapia has been identified as suitable species if a strain that could withstand saline conditions could be developed,Trusiya M. Maldan, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources' (BFAR) chief of planning, monitoring and evaluation division told Business World.

She adds with this new breakthrough, farmers and fishpond growers are encouraged to venture in culturing this new hybrid tilapia.

Per calculation, Maldan said the new tilapia breed, also referred to as the brackish-water enhanced selected tilapia or BEST, can be harvested in just four months with an average weight of 200 grammes. In addition, the saline-tolerant tilapia can also produce fry and fingerlings in just two months.

Tilapia species in general are proven to have a cost-effective diet. Fish growers can make low-cost feeds that are essentially made from locally available feed ingredients, ranging from simple mixture to complex pellet feeds.

Maldan stresses the new tilapia breed will give growers at least 50 percent profit margin, having the shortest span of culturing period and has a high survival rate of at least 98 percent.

Based on the study, the tilapia hybrid is a genetically improved breed, which has the capability to adapt well in brackish water. When properly acclimatised from fresh water, it grows best in waters with saline content of 32 parts per thousand, but can tolerate up to 35 parts per thousand.

Maldan said the new hybrid variety is a cross between four high-quality hybrid strains.

BEST was developed from an eight-year study by the National Freshwater Fisheries Technology Centre of the Fisheries bureau, Freshwater Aquaculture Center of the Central Luzon State University, and the Bureau of Agricultural Research.

Maldan said the regional BFAR office will initially develop two tilapia brood stocks in Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga City, which will serve as a hatchery for the hybrid. BFAR will culture at least 15,000 fingerling breeders with an expected output of a million fingerlings after two months that will be distributed to different provinces.

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