The National Inland Fisheries Technology Center (NIFTC) of the Philippine Department of Agriculture Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) is strengthening its advocacy for the revitalization of indigenous freshwater species to increase local production in the fisheries sector through aquaculture. As a result of holistic, innovative and data-driven research and development, the Bureau has established different rearing techniques for various freshwater fish species in its indigenous fish hatchery.

“Through the NIFTC, we have already developed rearing methods for some of our indigenous freshwater fish species in collaboration with the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute, which I take this opportunity to thank and commend for doing an outstanding job and showing their dedication in helping us establish this hatchery area and research facility amidst the challenges of the pandemic,” stated Bureau Director of Research and Development (DA-BFAR) Nestor Domenden.

“Reactivating the population of these native species through captive breeding is, after all, taking advantage of the uniqueness of our natural aquatic ecosystems and our biodiversity,” he added.

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An essential component of inland waters

Indigenous freshwater species are an essential component of inland waters and contribute significantly to the biodiversity of the environment. However, these fish are among the inland water resources that have experienced rapid decline due to factors such as overfishing, declining water quality, sedimentation, illegal fishing, improper and accidental introduction of non-native species, and climate change.

According to the Philippine government, the management of native freshwater species, through sustainable programs and initiatives, is crucial and requires various strategies aimed at addressing concerns and issues related to their promotion and protection. This is where DA-BFAR’s National Inland Fisheries Technology Center (NIFTC) comes in.

Modernization of equipment and facilities

The Bureau aims to achieve its objective of fulfilling its mandate in relation to the country’s fisheries sector. To this end, DA-BFAR focuses on modernizing fisheries, fish farming and processing equipment and facilities, innovating by promoting non-conventional production systems and intensifying existing programs such as the mariculture and Balik Sigla sa Ilog at Lawa (BASIL) parks.

59th DA-BFAR Fish Conservation Week

To celebrate the 59th DA-BFAR Fish Conservation Week, the Bureau organized a technical demonstration and media tour for media personnel at the NIFTC located in Tanay, Rizal, of various media company organizations to create and raise awareness on fish conservation, particularly on fish species that Filipino consumers do not often see in the market anymore.

Through the media tour, the Bureau hopes to provide the media with first-hand information and experience on the operation of hatcheries and their importance in conservation and sustainable fish production.

These historic initiatives are crucial steps toward achieving food security and realizing the new Administration’s goal of making the nation food self-sufficient. With the President at the helm of the Department of Agriculture, the Bureau is committed to ensuring sustainable fisheries management and innovative services and contributing to the nation’s food security and improving the quality of life for fishermen.

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Recovery of the seaweed farms

In another vein, and as the seeds of recovery starts to sow hope in the hearts of the residents of Brgy. Dawahon, Bato, Leyte, BFAR8 extended assistance its seaweed farmers whose seaweed farms were washed out and destroyed during the onslaught of Typhoon Odette last December 2021.

Being one of the major players of the seaweed industry in the region, the devastation that the island suffered in terms of seaweed production and loss of income for its farmers were unparalleled. Thereby, seeking to rehabilitate the island and help its inhabitants who solely rely on seaweed farming, BFAR8 has previously allocated and provided assistance such as seaweed farm implements, propagules, and fiberglass boats with engines and accessories to selected seaweed multipliers and farmers in the island.

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Continuing the restoration efforts of the Bureau, personnel from the Central office, Regional and Provincial Offices visited the island of Dawahon last August 10  to conduct an Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) Orientation on the Looming Effects of Microplastics in Seaweed Farming. Said IEC orientation updated the seaweed farmers on some of the recommended techniques for greener farming more specifically on the use of eco-friendly ties instead of the more commonly used plastic straws to tie seaweed seedlings which could possibly leave microplastic in the seaweed produce. Microplastics are known to have harmful effects not only to the marine environment but also to humans.

Through this IEC session, seaweed farmers of Dawahon were informed and taught of a more sustainable and globally competitive method of seaweed farming.

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