THE Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) is adapting new technologies to boost fish production.
Lilybeth Signey, BFAR-CAR director, with Aquaculturist Marx Perfecto Garcia and his team, has been conducting a study to improve fingerling production and speed up harvest in the region.
Garcia said in the study they made, fingerlings in the greenhouse pond can be harvested 13 to 15 days compared to the open ponds where fingerlings can be harvested in 30 days.
"We tried to conduct simple research, usually kasi sa open ponds natin more than 30 days tayo makakaharvest ng fry o fingerlings pero kinompare natin dito sa greenhouse, in half of that period, 13 to 15 days pwede na tayong magharvest," said Garcia.
Seeing the advantage of the greenhouse fish pond, the agency allocated budget for the creation of another greenhouse fish pond.
Garcia and his team manage a modified intensified tilapia hatchery (MITF) that controls and manage the temperature to suit the development and survival rate of fingerlings inside the 1.5-hectare fish farm at the La Trinidad Regional Fish Farm (LRFF) located in Barangay Balili.
The MITH fish farm was built in 2019, but the design of the water system was not effective and efficient in fry production.
As the design adapted from other stations did not work in the La Trinidad Fish Farm, Garcia adopted the incubator system for chicken eggs and utilized its automation in the hatchery.
Garcia said the new technology was realized to be significantly functional this June 2020 and provided a conservative estimate of about 10 to 20 percent increase in production compared to the conventional fry or fingerling harvesting directly from the ponds.
"Another advantage of this intervention aside from saving water and increase production is that we can already provide estimation on the fish seed stocks that will be produced and distributed to the requesting entities right after egg collection. Unlike before, direct harvesting of fry/fingerlings from the ponds does not provide as exact data that we can use as basis for estimation," Garcia added.
Garcia said the production of fish continues to be a challenge in the upland Cordillera region.
Data show more than 4,000 metric tons of fish is produced in the region compared to its fish demand of more than 30,000 metric tons.
Fish sufficiency level in the region is at 13.4 percent.
To sustain the fish demand of the region, the LRFF continues to produce more fingerlings as support and aid to fisherfolk in Benguet, Abra and Mt. Province.
There are also two other technology stations at Rizal Lowland Fish Farm in Rizal, Kalinga and Ubao Freshwater Fish Farm in Aguinaldo, Ifugao operated by BFAR.
Both of these stations have some of the materials for the MITF.
With the concern of water supply in Ifugao, BFAR-CAR established a recirculating system in the fish farm to help in saving water while optimizing production in all stations.
The hatchery in La Trinidad grows three main species of weather loach, nile tilapia, and common carp.
For the past decade, more than 39 million fingerlings were distributed to stakeholders in the region.