Gov't fast-tracks construction of fish hatchery facilities in Mindanao
by Prix D Banzon
Davao City (10 May) -- The government is on the double in turning the country into a major player in the multibillion-dollar live-food-fish export business as it fast track the construction and multi-species fish hatchery facilities in Mindanao and the Visayas.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) had allocated P10 million hatchery in Tawi-Tawi that is due for completion in July this year. Another P8 million was earmarked for the improvement and expansion of the multi-species hatchery in Sra. Lucia, Palawan.
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) director Malcolm Sarmiento said the three hatcheries will supply local fish cage operators in existing mariculture parks quality fry and fingerlings of high-value food fishes such as lapu-lapu or grouper, apahap or sea bass and snapper.
"With these hatcheries, sea cage operators could easily shift its production from bangus to lapu-lapu and other high-value species, which command higher prices especially when sold live in China, Japan and other countries in Southeast Asian region," he noted.
According to the data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS), the Philippines exported some 7,140 metric tons of lapu-lapu valued at $14.9M (P771.6 million) in 2005.
"We are optimistic that export sales from lapu-lapu alone would increase by two to three-fold compared to the 2005 level in the first year of operation by the three hatcheries," Sarmiento said. (PIA) [top]