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Generation of appropriate technologies for rural aquaculture to provide livelihood and alleviate poverty


1. Strategy I: Securing the sustainability of fisheries to contribute to food security, poverty alleviation and livelihood of people in the region

2.7 Generation of appropriate technologies for rural aquaculture to provide livelihood and alleviate poverty

Meeting Social and Economic Challenges in Aquaculture

In 2018, five (5) research projects were implemented by AQD under the Program with main- stream activities focusing on the social and economic aspects of aquaculture and resource enhancement to contribute to the development of aquaculture-based livelihoods in coastal and inland fishing communities in Southeast Asia. The studies were intended to allow the fishing households to acquire knowledge and develop aquaculture skills that would enable them to adopt sustainable farming of economically important aquatic animals and plants, as well as to demonstrate to them that hatchery-produced juveniles are instrumental in rebuilding overfished fishing habitat through community-based strategies.

o Prioritizing collaborative R&D in aquaculture in the region for a clear regional assessment and understanding of the role of aquaculture in poverty alleviation

The increasing demand of eel seeds for aquaculture in recent years has prompted SEAFDEC to conduct a survey of the Anguillid eel industry focusing on the glass eels in the Southeast Asian region through the regional study “Enhancing Sustainable Utilization and Management Scheme of Tropical Anguillid Eel Resources in Southeast Asia” led by the SEAFDEC Secretariat and funded by the Japan ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF). Under this regional study, AQD has been tasked to conduct a survey of the Anguillid eel aquaculture industry with focus on glass eel nursery in the Philippines. Together with a survey of eel nursery farms in the Philippines and Viet Nam, and the observed practices in farms in Japan, the survey could provide basis for studies on nursery refinements to improve the current glass eel production. The eel farms surveyed in the Philippines were in the Provinces of Cagayan, Zambales, Laguna, Pampanga, Tarlac, Agusan del Norte, Saranggani, Cavite; and in Davao and General Santos City. In Viet Nam, the farms were located in Khanh Hoa and Phu Yen in south central coast of Viet Nam.

In the Philippines, glass eels are sourced from Aparri in Cagayan Province, and in Mindanao such as in General Santos City, Saranggani and Davao. In Viet Nam, glass eels are from the Provinces of Quảng Ngãi (2-5%), Bình Định (10-15%), Phú Yên (>80%), Khánh Hòa (<1%), and Ninh Thuận (<1%). For both countries, post-transport survival is generally high at 95 to almost 100%. The price of glass eels in the Philippines ranges from PHP 3,500 to 5,000 per kg, but pre-sorted glass eel with at least 90% A. bicolor pacifica are sold at PHP 20,000 per kg. In Viet Nam where more than 90% of Anguillid eels are claimed to be A. marmorata, the equivalent price range of glass eels is about PHP 23,000 to 34,000 per kg. In terms of good aquaculture practices, quarantine upon arrival (mostly through salt bath and rarely with antibiotics) are practiced in the Philippines but those in Viet Nam are stocked directly in rearing tanks. Initial report indicated that most farms use indoor nursery facilities and outdoor ponds with static- renewal system of water exchange, recirculating system, or flow-through system with water sourced from deep well. The study is expected to come up with: (1) updated assessment of the Anguillid eel nursery industry; (2) value chain analysis of the eel nursery industry; (3) market development strategies for existing eel species; (4) problems in Anguillid eel nursery

identified; and (5) best management practices for Anguillid eel nursery culture determined and published for dissemination to the AMSs involved in Anguillid eel culture.

In another socioeconomics study, the farming of seaweed (Kappaphycus alvarezii) remains as a significant source of income for migrants and those displaced by war especially in Zamboanga City and Tawi-tawi. A global seaweeds project was conducted in AQD starting 2018 parallel with the other project counterparts in Indonesia and Tanzania. For the component in the Philippines, data collection was conducted through interview and focus group discussions with farmers, traders, processors, and local government officials in top seaweed-producing provinces in the Philippines such as Zamboanga, Tawi-Tawi, and Bohol. Results of the survey showed that seaweed farming households often have many members since dwellings were shared by extended families. All members of the family are also involved in the farming as children and other household members help in the preparation of the seedlings offshore while husbands and wives are often in-charge of the actual farming. Despite having equal interest in seaweed farming, men have relatively more access to support from government and non-government organizations compared to women. The results also showed that across three different provinces, the average monthly income were not significantly different but seaweed prices in Zamboanga were lower since seaweeds were often sold fresh. Farmers often sold their seaweeds to village traders unless the farm is near the town center. Methods for seaweed farming are mostly learned from family members and other village residents.

The survey also showed that farmers will only adopt a particular seaweed planting methods when it shows higher yield and lesser cleaning effort. Incidence of diseases, epiphytes and bad weather condition were the most cited reasons for crop failure, so that when crops are affected by these conditions, farmers opt to obtain assistance from family members, traders and microfinance organizations. Price fluctuations of seaweeds had largely influenced the farmer’s decision to either continue or stop the farming. Results also showed that only few farmers, mostly from Bohol and Zamboanga, have licenses to operate seaweed farms.

Under the study, analysis of the seaweeds value chain would be carried out for the benefit of smallholder seaweed farmers, national policy-influencing plan would be developed, and product insurance would be explored to reduce the risks in seaweed faming.

Eel farmers report almost 100% survival after

transport from source to nursery Glass eels are mostly reared in indoor cement tanks with aeration and good water exchange

o Addressing emerging issues on the impacts of climate change and global trade Seaweed is one of the major export commodities of the Philippines and its farming is often the livelihood of low-income households in many coastal communities around the country.

However, seaweeds production in the Philippines showed a declining trend while global demand for seaweeds and its products is projected to increase annually. Studies have shown that coastal marine ecosystems along with the goods and services they provide are threatened by anthropogenic global climate change. To contribute to better understanding of these climate-related concerns, some of the key activities in 2018 include monitoring the seaweed farming operations of fisherfolks in Panobolon in Nueva Valencia in Guimaras Province while test planting of seaweeds obtained from AQD had been carried out to compare the performance with the seaweed farming livelihood in the study area. Results showed that the test planted seaweeds grew but were heavily infested with epiphytes, herbivorous fish and shells. The seaweeds were cleaned and replanted, but grew in clumped form rather than showing long-branches. Majority of seaweed growers in shallow areas stopped cultivating in 2018 primarily due to unpredictable weather patterns and lack of seedling propagules.

In shallow areas, farmers reported more problems such as profuse bloom of algae and the presence of mud, slimy worms, and black egg-like slime attached to the thalli. Eventually the seaweeds melted due to ice-ice despite regular cleaning. The farmers who planted in deep areas continued farming, although confronted with the same challenges experienced by growers in shallow areas. Transition of season affected the seaweeds growth performance, where extreme temperature and salinity resulted in depigmented seedlings and mortality.

Despite the constraints encountered, a few growers continue farming until the early quarter of 2018. Overall, the seaweed growers showed a declining interest from 2016 to 2018 due to lack of good-quality seedlings and low market price of fresh harvest.

Sun-drying of seaweed is a common sight in the study sites in the Philippines

In study sites in the Philippines, women are often engaged in the preparation of planting materials

Daily sea surface temperature reading in a shallow (depth 1.5 m-1.8 m)

seaweed farming area

o Sustaining multi-agency collaboration and sharing of information

AQD and the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS) collaborated for the Demonstration and Verification of Sustainable and Efficient Aquaculture Techniques by Combination of Multiple Organisms from 2016-2020, aimed at establishing practically feasible and economically profitable modified IMTA systems that suit local fish farming environment. For the socioeconomics component, milkfish grow-out trials aimed to explore and demonstrate improvement of IMTA systems were carried out with the cooperation of organized fisherfolks and the local government officers in Barangay Pandaraonan, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras Province. As in previous years, the science-based milkfish culture technology developed by AQD was incorporated with the indigenous knowledge of fisherfolks to carry out the activities in 2018 that include the sixth culture run for demonstrating milkfish, Chanos chanos grow-out with sandfish, Holothuria scabra. Although the milkfish harvest attained local marketable size (>250 g), there was variability in the size distribution of the harvest. Value-adding was adopted by deboning, cooking of under-sized milkfish in oil and the indigenous process of partial sun-drying of split-gutted milkfish washed in brine solution, the latter of which was preferred by local women because of the lower cost involved. However, the techniques for integrating of sandfish and seaweeds in IMTA of milkfish for mitigating environmental problems and increasing economic benefits still need further improvement. In 2019, a modified mariculture pen set-up will be stocked with more sandfish during the fallow period to verify the improved survival and growth observed in 2018. The accumulation of aquaculture skills through the participation of fisherfolks in these IMTA trials will also be evaluated in the context of the sustainable livelihoods analysis.

o Other aquaculture R&D activities

AQD organized two regional meetings this year on important aquaculture topics such as fish health and nutrition. On 17 May 2018, a regional seminar-workshop on Establishment of the Regional Database of Alternative Feed Ingredient in Southeast Asia (AFID) was held in Bangkok, Thailand with focal persons from the Member Countries and observers from other SEAFDEC Departments and partner agencies, e.g. Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA). The project was funded by JTF.

Fisherfolk collaborators observe sampling of milkfish harvest in Pandaraonan, Nueva Valencia in

Guimaras Province, Philippines in 2018

On 13 July 2018, the Regional Database of Alternative Feed Ingredients in Aquaculture was officially launched by its proponents under the web address http://afid.seafdec.


The Focal Persons had hands-on experience of the database by giving them access to the site. AQD gave a run-through of functions including introduction of the parts (e.g.

dashboard, log-in page), contents (e.g. ingredient types, species group), and user accounts or page roles (e.g. administrator, encoder). The navigation of the database as administrator starting from logging into the user account, to familiarization of the dashboard, adding feed ingredient entry and categorizing the feed ingredient into types were also explained.

Concerns on privacy, database maintenance, accessibilities and limitations of the Database were also tackled and solved during the discussions. Suggestions and information that were received during the Meeting from focal persons were noted and applied on the Database.

The “ASEAN Regional Technical Consultation on Aquatic Emergency Preparedness and Response Systems for Effective Management of Transboundary Disease Outbreaks in Southeast Asia (ASEAN RTC on AEPRS)” was held on 20-22 August 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand. A total of 71 participants including country representatives from ASEAN-SEAFDEC Member Countries, resource persons, JAIF representatives, private sectors of selected countries, Thailand aquaculture farmers, and representatives from DOF Thailand, and staff from SEAFDEC Departments attended the Consultation.

An article about the launching of AFID

Representatives from Member Countries accessing the Database during the workshop

Participants present during the ASEAN RTC on AEPRS in Bangkok, Thailand

During the Consultation, country representatives presented the current status of aquatic emergency preparedness and response systems concomitant to their respective national laws, legislations, SOPs and aquatic animal health strategies, among others. The Resource Persons also presented the importance of aquatic emergency preparedness and response systems for effective management of transboundary disease outbreaks based on primary accounts documented at the global or regional level. After the presentations, a Workshop ensued resulting in the identification of gaps and the priority areas for R&D collaboration that led to the development of the Consultation’s policy recommendations. Then the Regional Technical Guidelines for Early Warning System for Aquatic Animal Health Emergencies was drafted and is currently being reviewed by the countries. The Consultation was funded by Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) and was held as a collaborative effort of AQD, DOF Thailand and NACA.

o Technology Verification and Extension

In 2018, AQD changed the name of its Technology Verification and Demonstration Division to Technology Verification and Extension Division (TVED) to be primarily tasked with conducting verification work on sustainable technologies that are developed or refined through research, and translating these into adoption-ready production systems. Pilot scale production will be done by TVED using recent techniques to compare with existing methods and to determine if these recent findings improve production and profitability.

TVED is also responsible for technology promotion and technical services.

As part of AQD’s mandate to disseminate technologies through lead fishery agencies of Member Countries, TVED is closely working with BFAR on the establishment of multi- species hatcheries in different parts of the Philippines. In addition, AQD also collaborates with BFAR on JMANTTP which involves on-site training and demonstration activities in various BFAR regional centers in the country.

Meanwhile, formulating and producing low-cost, quality feeds and fish diets for the fish farmers is also one of AQD’s thrusts. Low-cost feeds for milkfish had been formulated, with the ingredients composition presented in Table 7. These low-cost feeds are now being used in various demonstration farms of BFAR.

Table 7. Ingredients composition of “low-cost feeds for milkfish”

Ingredient g/100 g of dry diet

Danish FM 0.25

Sardines FM 2.50

Poultry by-product 10.00 Defatted soybean 23.00

DDGS 4.00

Copra meal 10.00

Acetes 0.25

Ingredient g/100 g of dry diet

Wheat pollard 5.00

BF 12.00

SBO 0.50

DFO 0.50

Vit. Mix 0.03

Vitamin C 0.05

Rice bran 31.92

Low-cost Diet (PhP 22.05 /kg) Commercial Diet (PhP 31.00/kg)

Preliminary results of the low-cost feed formulation for milkfish cultured in floating net cages at AQD’s Igang Marine Station

Compared to the commercial feeds (PHP 31.00/kg) and poultry by-product (PHP 45.00/kg), the price of the low-cost feed (PHP 22.05/kg) is lower. Preliminary results of the test feeds shown in the figure below appear promising, while another low-cost diet formulation had also been initiated.

Different aquatic commodities are produced as by-product from the different research and technology, verification and demonstration activities of AQD. Milkfish fry continued to be on top with hatchery production (Table 8) having a total value of PHP 1,054,505.00. Tilapia hit a total sale of PHP 455,854.00 for both fry and fingerlings with buyers coming from Iloilo, Aklan, Antique and Negros Occidental. Mangrove crab reached a production income of PHP 1,121,736.00 from buyers coming from Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, Negros, Masbate, Pangasinan, Pagadian and Zamboanga. Since production of shrimp is still continuing, the equivalent production value could not yet be confirmed. For grow-out, milkfish is also the top commodity with a total production of 2,577 kg but pompano, being a high-value commodity, yielded the highest production value at PHP 447,974.00 (Table 9).

Table 8. Hatchery output of AQD Commodity Quantity (pcs)

Milkfish 3,495,350 fry

Shrimp 614,000 fry

Tilapia 1,328,769 fry

12,910 fingerlings Mangrove crab 278,420 crab instars

Commodity Volume (kgs) Value (PHP)

Milkfish 2577.00 320,966.00

Pompano 1808.60 447,974.00

Siganid 422.75 77,702.50

Snapper 58.00 11,905.00

Tilapia 46.00 5,080.00

Seabass 18.80 5,625.00

Table 9. Grow-out production of various commodities at AQD (IMS and DBS) Milkfish harvest at AQD’s

Igang Marine Station

o Training and Information

For the purpose of enhancing the knowledge of a critical mass of experts by sharing updated information on aquaculture advances to the region, AQD continued and improved its training and information dissemination activities. In 2018, AQD trained a total of 300 participants in 33 training courses while its internship program was availed by 25 individuals who were assigned in different research areas in AQD for skills enhancement, specifically improving their proficiency and gaining experience in their chosen aquaculture field. On- the-job training (OJT) program was availed by 414 students from 45 schools and universities all over the country, providing students with hands-on participation in AQD activities to satisfy their academic requirements and to give them practical knowledge and skills.

Also in 2018, the aquaculture extension manual on “Biology and Hatchery of Mangrove Crab” was revised with its third edition that includes techniques to improve the viability of the mangrove crab hatchery technology. Brochures and flyers on mangrove red snapper, manual sexing of milkfish, analytical services, laboratory facilities for advanced aquaculture technologies, and updated Tigbauan Main Station flyers were also produced.

Publications produced by AQD in 2018

For visibility, AQD attended and organized four exhibitions including the AQD Aquaculture Week in SM City Iloilo, Regional Science and Technology Week in Robinsons Place Roxas, 2nd National Bangus Congress, and 2nd Agri-Aqua Investment Forum both at Iloilo Convention Center. Overall, the exhibits gathered over 20,000 visitors.

AQD’s official website (www.seafdec.org.ph) has been updated and improved receiving a total of 63,159 unique visitors in 2018. As for its official Facebook page (www.facebook.

com/seafdec.aqd), posts uploaded for this year acquired 3,817 likes and views, and followers increased from 2,992 to 3,870. The SEAFDEC/AQD Institutional Repository (SAIR) also continued to enhance the accessibility of the Department’s scholarly and research information by making them available for free and online. From January to December 2018, the repository received a total of 118,571 accesses.

3. Strategy III: Enhancing trade and compliance of the region’s fish and