BFAR 2 taps SWIPs to boost CV fishing industry
Enrile, Cagayan (16 February) -- The Bureau of Aquatic Resources 2 (BFAR) has been maximizing the use of small water impounding project (SWIPs) from being a plain source of irrigation to a major site for fishing following the massive and regular dispersal of fingerlings made by the fisheries bureau at said irrigation facilities.
According to BFAR RO2 Assistant Regional Director. Severina Bueno, a total of 1,074,700 million pieces fingerlings have been stocked to SWIPs and SFRs for 2009. Fingerlings consist mainly of tilapia with little of carp to ensure species diversity. Stocking rate is 5,000 pieces per hectare.
"SWIPs and small farm reservoirs are ideal for fish production given their semi- confined feature which minimizes threats of floods and strong water current in case of bad weather," Bueno said.
Rolando Maneja, secretary of the 40-member Liwan Norte Irrigators Association here says they have already harvested more than 700 kilos of fish mainly tilapia from the 50-hectare Liwan Norte Small Water Impoundment Project since the start of fishing operation last November.
"Fishing in our SWIP is a great benefit for us farmers most specially during lean season. Likewise we are optimistic that the fish cages can also improve the economy in our area," Maneja added.
They sell the fish, weighing five to three pieces to a kilo, at a landed price of 65 pesos per kilo. The harvest is good given that the fish depend solely on natural food.
Maneja said that they also give fish as gift or donation during occasions in their barangay. Income derived from fishing has been allocated for minor repairs in their irrigation system.
Simple hook and line is the only fishing gear allowed by the association to prevent over-fishing. Gill net or sigay is used only when the association catch fish intended for occasions.
The association allows daily fishing operation during lean season but limit this to weekends during harvest season knowing the availability of cash among farmers at that time.
Aside from natural catch, several enterprising individuals have also installed fish cages within the SWIP following initial techno-demo made by Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Regional Office No. 02.
"Hopefully, I can harvest my stock by March," Sergio Carlos, a fish cage operator happily said. Expected harvest from his 5 units fish cage (5m x 5m) is 1.7 metric tons. The association collects user fees from the fish cage operators.
In Barangay Usol, Jones town in Isabela, an average of 10 kilograms daily is harvested from their SWIP. Fishers sell their catch for 80 pesos per kilo.
Barangay Captain Diosdado Lazaro said that harvest is continuous given periodic stocking by the fisheries bureau. Usol is one of the KALAHI areas assisted by the fisheries bureau in region 02.
Like in Liwan, several fish cages have also sprouted within the SWIP providing additional source of food and income for the farming community.
Both the Liwan and Usol SWIPs are just two of 104 similar irrigation facilities stocked by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Region 02 for 2009. (PIA 2) [top]