THE National Integrated Fisheries Technology Development Center (NIFTDC) in Dagupan City was tapped by the Department of Agriculture to spearhead the Bangus Fry Sufficiency Program nationwide.
Dr. Westly Rosario, NIFTDC chief, said bangus is one of the five commodities that Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol wants the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to concentrate on.
Shellfish, said Rosario, is another focused commodity assigned to NIFTDC while tilapia is assigned to the BFAR at Central Luzon State University in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija with the BFAR central office to take charge on shrimp and seaweeds.
Rosario told the KBP Forum that government never admitted in the past of an urgent need to produce local bangus fry to support the needs of the industry in the whole country.
He said that to date, the country needs from 1.5 billion to 2 billion bangus fry to keep the industry going.
“It’s been more than two decades since 1995 that the country has finally woke up and realized that there is an acute problem on bangus fry in the country,” Rosario said.
Presently, he said most of the bangus raisers depend on imported fry sold to them at cheaper price than the locally-grown fry but whose survival rate is only 20 percent as compared to the locally produce-fry that costs them more but whose survival rate is up to 85 percent.
Rosario said the strategy is to revive the non-performing assets of BFAR or government bangus hatcheries that closed scattered in every region of the country.
Each of the BFAR hatcheries is expected to have at least five satellite hatcheries to be run by the private sector capable of producing at least 3 million fry each.
Rosario recalled that the initiative was already started at NIFTDC more than 20 years ago but it did not earn the support of past DA officials.
He revealed that the target is to to establish 40 bangus satellite hatcheries and Pangasinan is expected to have at least five satellite hatcheries.
Each satellite hatchery will cost around P750,000 with the design as well as the initial bangus eggs to come from the BFAR central hatchery. (Leonardo Micua)
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