Fish farmers need to learn the ropes on responsible and sustainable aquaculture to ensure abundant fish production meet rapidly growing fish demand all over the country and address food security, Senator Cynthia Villar said.
Villar noted the speedy expansion of the aquaculture industry has compounding environmental problems caused by climate change, callous governance, and irresponsible fish farming practices.
“Aquaculture, or fish farming, is essential in the government’s poverty and food security campaign. It is important that we ensure aquaculture sustainability so we can continuously meet the fish demand of our country’s growing population,” said the veteran legislator who is the chairperson of two key Senate panels – the committees on agriculture and food security, and the environment and natural resources.
In 2017, aquaculture registered 2.24 million metric tons. Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed seaweed harvests accelerated in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi during the second semester. PSA says aquaculture had a share of 51.9 percent to total fisheries.
“Let me stress that aquaculture is the future. It will help feed all of us, especially if the warning of environmental experts that our oceans will be virtual deserts by the year 2050 will cone true. In the years ahead, the share of aquaculture in fish production will be much bigger,” the seasoned lawmaker stressed before an audience of fisherfolks and members of farmers’ organizations and cooperatives who are participating in a 5-day training of trainors for freshwater aquaculture offered by the Villar SIPAG Foundation and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources region IV-A held at the Vintahanan floating village in Muntinlupa.
The lady senator urged the 30 participants from the National Capital Region and the CALABARZON to take advantage of the lessons and skills they will learn from the training, which would offer lectures on breeding and culture of tilapia, goldfish, Japanese koi, guppy, molly, swordtail, platy, fighting fish, and angel fish; record keeping; fisheries post-harvest such as salting, bottling and smoking, Surimi making and value adding; disease identification and treatment; quarantine protocol; good aquaculture practices; and Aquaponics systems.
Also, there will be hands-on training on identification of male and female tilapia; fish siomai making, fish nuggets making, and fish embutido; packaging techniques; and Aquascaping.
“You can start your own aquaculture businesses with the basic concepts and strategies. Apply what you learn. You can start being self-sufficient with this,” Villar said.
The Vintahan floating village was conceptualized in July 2015. The floating houses are designed to float when floodwaters rise.