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PIA Press Release

RP ranks 8th among fish-producing countries

by A. Lumaque

Roxas City (3 September) -- The Philippines ranks 8 th among the top ten fish-producing countries in the world based on the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) statistics.

FAO is an agency that works to alleviate poverty and hunger by promoting agricultural development, improved nutrition, and the pursuit of food security on world scale.

FAO statistics revealed that the country has a current fish production of 4.16 million metric tons which represents 2.8 percent of the total world production of 146.27 million MT.

Tuna is the country's top export product shipped to many parts of the world including the United States of America, Japan, China, and the European Union.

In a report of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resouces (BFAR), Director Malcolm Sarmiento revealed that the country's actual production of the aquaculture and commercial and municipal fisheries sectors totaled 2.662 million MT in the first half of 2007.

Sarmiento said "actual production in the first semester and projected growth in the second half will bring total yields in the fisheries sector on track at nearly 5 million MT for 2007 despite prolonged drought.

Sarmiento projects that in the event of a worst-case scenario of a long dry spell till yearend, the potential loss for the fisheries sector will be 45,743 metric tons (MT) of freshwater tilapia, which represents less than 1% of the total production target for 2007.

The potential loss of freshwater tilapia in the event of a prolonged dry spell can be offset by opening up mariculture parks as production sites for cultured tilapia in non-drought areas.

"There is a need to produce more saline-tolerant tilapia fingerlings to enhance culture and production in mariculture parks," Sarmiento noted.

He pointed out that the dry spell is even beneficial for the culture of milkfish and salt-tolerant tilapia, which can tolerate higher water temperature and salinity in brackishwater ponds.

Other mitigation measures that BFAR will put in place to compensate for the potential losses in the fisheries sector as a result of the dry spell in Luzon include harvesting rainwater in non-drought areas by means of small impoundments and canal systems from bigger bodies of water, he said.

He said BFAR is also encouraging fishpond owners to recycle water in freshwater ponds instead of draining it when harvesting fish.

BFAR will also help fishpond owners build shallow tube wells pumping freshwater to anticipate low water levels in freshwater ponds and the high salinity level in brackishwater ponds during hot weather, he said. (PIA) [top]

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