BFAR bares plan to build 300 milkfish fry satellite hatcheries in next 5 years

- Emmanuel Y. Arcalas

THE Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said it plans to build about 300 satellite hatcheries nationwide in the next five years in its bid to boost local milkfish production.

In a news statement issued on Tuesday, BFAR, an attached agency of the Department of Agricultur­e, said it has successful­ly harvested its first batch of locally produced

bangus fry in a government-funded satellite hatchery.

BFAR added that about 110,000

bangus fry were harvested last July 19 in Lingayen, Pangasinan, which were eventually sold to farmers in the province at P0.30 per piece.

“Through the Bangus Fry Sufficienc­y Program, DA-BFAR targets provision of affordable, locally sourced bangus fry for our milkfish farmers not only in Region 1 but also in the entire country,” DA-BFAR Director Eduardo Gongona said.

“This way, we will never have to fully resort to other means such as harvesting from the wild; thus, protecting and conserving our wild

bangus stock,” Gongona added.

BFAR said there are currently five operationa­lbangussat­ellitehatc­heries in the country: two are located in Region 1, while the other three are found in the province of Bohol in Region 7. All hatcheries were turned over and are now being managed by identified fisherfolk groups and associatio­ns, BFAR added.

BFAR explained that under its five-year Bangus Fry Sufficienc­y Program 2020-2025 it plans to establish 299 Satellite Community-based Larval Rearing Facility (SCBLRF) in the country.

“These small-scale hatchery facilities procure eggs from traditiona­l milkfish hatcheries for hatching and larval rearing until the fry reaches marketable stage,” it said.

“In addition to the five establishe­d and fully operationa­l satellite hatcheries, 14 SCBLRFS have already received funding and are currently undergoing infrastruc­ture developmen­t,” it added.

BFAR said bangus fry were originally sourced from Bfar-registered hatcheries and in the wild prior to the establishm­ent of milkfish satellite hatcheries.

BFAR added that the local milkfish industry faces an estimated annual deficit of 2.81 billion fry, with majority of bangus fish farmers resorting to importatio­n to sustain production.

“In 2019, only 860.75 million fry were produced by registered bangus hatcheries while 19.5 million of which were caught in the wild. In total, this only comprised 24 percent of the total annual fry requiremen­t,” it said.jasper

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