NEGROS Occidental has maintained an average of 8,000 metric tons per quarter production of aquaculture species making it self-sufficient of the products, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed.
Aquaculture, according to the Bureau of Agricultural Research of the Department of Agriculture (DA), is one of the three sub-sectors of the fishing industry including municipal and commercial fisheries.
Of the three, aquaculture involves raising and culturing of fish and other marine products in fresh, brackish, and marine waters, the bureau said, adding that it is seen as one of the most promising areas for increasing production.
Records of DA showed that in 2000, aquaculture registered the highest production and value growth of three to almost nine percent.
PSA-Negros Occidental Agricultural Center Chief Joely Cabarles said the province has almost 8,500 hectares covered area for aquaculture with milk fish (bangus) as the biggest production, followed by tilapia, and other products.
The aquaculture production trend in the province is increasing, Cabarles said, adding that the sector plays a vital role in the fish industry for it covers up the low production of captured species from seas especially during storms and weather disturbances.
Moreover, the agency recorded a slight decrease on the production of aquaculture species during the onslaught of several typhoons like Egay and Hanna, but was able to immediately recover, Cabarles said.
“The province has not experienced shortage of fish products in the market, except only inadequate supply of some species because of various factors, mainly bad weather,” he said.
With the full impact of El Niño that is expected in the later part of the year, the aquaculture industry may also be affected, but not that bad, Cabarles noted.
Meanwhile, PSA said that production of prawn, one of the aquaculture species produced in the province, has been slowly increasing.
It records showed that currently, the prawn production in Negros Occidental is below 10 percent compared to the previous years when the latter’s industry is still at its height.
It is mainly associated, aside from diseases like the white spot, to fewer aqua farmers in the province that are inclined towards prawn production, Cabarles said.