The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said it is revitalizing native freshwater species to increase the production of the fisheries sub-sector through aquaculture.
The BFAR, an agency attached to the Ministry of Agriculture, noted that freshwater species are an essential component of inland waters and contribute significantly to the biodiversity of the environment.
“These fish, however, are part of inland water resources that have been in rapid decline due to several factors, such as overfishing, declining water quality, siltation and illegal fishing,” he said. BFAR said in a statement.
The agency said managing native freshwater species, through sustainable programs and initiatives, is crucial and requires several targeted strategies to address concerns and issues related to their promotion and protection. This is where its National Inland Fisheries Technology Center (NIFTC) comes in.
Through NIFTC’s Indigenous Freshwater Fish Hatchery, the agency has established breeding techniques for various freshwater fish species through holistic, innovative, and data-driven research and development.
“Through NIFTC, we have already developed farming methods for some of our native freshwater fish species in partnership with the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute. After all, reviving the population of these native species by breeding them in captivity is harnessing the uniqueness of our natural aquatic ecosystems and biodiversity,” said Nestor Domenden, OCI Director of BFAR.
The BFAR said it aims to achieve its goal of carrying out its mandate regarding the country’s fisheries sector. It will focus on modernizing fishing, fish farming and processing equipment and facilities, innovating through the promotion of unconventional production systems and scaling up existing programs, such as mariculture parks and Balik Sigla sa Ilog at Lawa (BASIL).
“These initiatives are critical steps toward achieving food security and realizing the new administration’s goal of making the nation food self-sufficient.”
The Philippine Statistics Authority reported last month that the country’s agricultural output contracted 0.4% in the first half of the year, mainly due to the anemic performance of the crops and fisheries sub-sectors.
The value of crops produced in the first half of the year fell by 2.2%, while that of fishing fell by 3.9%. Palay fell 2.2%, while corn recorded a contraction of 0.6% during the period.
Coconut, mango, sugar cane, pineapple, coffee and tobacco production also recorded lower values.
In the second quarter alone, the value of agriculture and fishing production at 2018 constant prices decreased by 0.6%. Crops and fishing weighed on the sector’s performance from April to June.