Fish bounty expected from Pantabangan aquapark

Fish bounty expected from Pantabangan aquapark

/ 10:32 AM February 15, 2024

MANILA, Philippines  The planned expansion of a two-year-old aquaculture park in Nueva Ecija is expected to boost fisheries output after the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) harvested “quality tilapia” from existing fish cages there.

In a statement on Wednesday, the BFAR said there are plans to expand the Pantabangan Aquaculture Park Project by creating more fish cages made of petroleum-based High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) in the Pantabangan reservoir for tilapia grow-out culture.

Last week, the agency unveiled its strategic plan covering the years 2023 to 2028 to attain 100-percent fish self-sufficiency by 2028, focusing on raising productivity and reducing post-harvest losses of fishery and aquatic resources.


READ: BFAR eyeing 100 percent fish sufficiency by 2028


According to BFAR, HDPE fish cages are flexible, strong and durable compared to the cages created using bamboo or galvanized iron (GI) pipes.

This makes HDPE cages a “more viable option” for the park, the project’s focal person Joseph Bitara said.

Established in 2022, the aquaculture park situated in Pantabangan town harvested more than 400 kilograms of tilapia last Feb. 8, culminating the project’s research phase.

The park currently has 24 HDPE fish cages, which are being used to evaluate the growth performance of Nile Tilapia—a species that is well adapted for farming in tropical countries such as the Philippines.

Aquaculture push

“Anticipated to amplify local fish production, the Pantabangan Aquaculture Park is poised to benefit not only the province but the entire Central Luzon region,” BFAR regional director Wilfredo Cruz said.

Fisheries production stood at 4.26 million metric tons (MT) in 2023, down by 1.8 percent from 4.34 million MT a year ago, based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), registering declines in the commercial and municipal fisheries subsectors.


READ: Fish supply shortfall seen to hit 58,000MT in Q4

Aquaculture accounts for more than half of domestic fisheries production with a share of 56 percent. Output inched up by 1.5 percent to 2.38 million MT.

Municipal fisheries, however, saw production decrease by 6.3 percent to 1.06 million MT in the previous year. Commercial fisheries dropped by 4.9 percent to about 820,000 MT.

The BFAR said the Pantabangan aquaculture project forms part of its fisheries programs “to address food security by [using] small water impounding projects (SWIPs) and other open water resources such as dams and reservoirs.”

“Furthermore, Pantabangan reservoir has a great potential for aquaculture due to its advantageous location and clean environment,” it added.

Also, the BFAR said they will be monitoring and conducting necessary resource assessments of the aquaculture project along with its partner agencies, the National Irrigation Administration, the Protected Area Management Board of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau and the local government of Pantabangan.

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Government agencies involved will also develop the municipal tilapia hatchery, conduct technical and management training for fisherfolk beneficiaries and cage operators and craft aquaculture training agenda.

TAGS: aquaculture, fishery, Pantabangan

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