BFAR confident P500-M stimulus package will help aquaculture raise production

THE Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said the P500 million worth of stimulus funds allocated to the fishing industry will support mainly aquaculture and will help the entire sector raise output levels.

The support package was authorized by Republic Act No. 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan II).

In a statement Thursday, BFAR said the P500-million stimulus package is expected to help the aquaculture industry produce an additional 9.6 thousand metric tons (MT).

The focus of the aid will go to growers of glass eels, sea urchins and seaweed, while also helping establish hatcheries.

“The stimulus package aims to help the fisheries sector, especially aquaculture, to recover and improve amid various challenges such as natural calamities and the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic,” the BFAR said.

BFAR National Director Eduardo B. Gongona said: “Glass eels, sea urchins and more species of seaweed are only some of our many abundant fisheries commodities with culture technologies that we have yet to sustainably develop,” Mr. Gongona said.

According to the bureau, the culture technology for glass eel will be presented via demonstration projects, while fingerlings will be given to selected growers in the Cagayan Valley and North Cotabato.

Sea urchin production will be promoted in the Ilocos Region, the Cagayan Valley, Caraga, Bicol, and Zamboanga, with fisherfolk undergoing training on grow-out and cage culture technology, while equipment and infrastructure such as sea urchin hatcheries, nursery tanks, and processing areas will also be established.

The BFAR also plans to set up hatcheries, nurseries, solar dryers, and farmhouses for seaweed growers.

“The establishment, rehabilitation, and repair of multi-species hatcheries and broodstock facilities, including of high-value species like sea bass, siganids, and blue swimming crabs, among others, will also continue in order to ensure production of good-quality fingerlings and broodstock,” the BFAR said.

In the third quarter, aquaculture production fell 2.7% year on year to 480,671 MT and accounted for 47.3% of overall fisheries output, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

The PSA added that the value of production of the fisheries sector in the three months to September rose 1.9% year on year and accounted for 15.8% of total agricultural output. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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