Ex-BFAR director: Aquaculture is inevitable

A FORMER national official of the Bureau of Fisheries and Natural Resources (BFAR) has warned that the decline in the production from fish farming or aquaculture in the country will continue unless more mariculture parks are developed.

Atty. Malcolm Sarmiento, BFAR director from 1998 to 2013, now 72, told newsmen that the Philippines, being a tropical country, is fortunate than countries with four seasons because “we can raise fish the whole year round.”

“Mariculture park is a new development in the Philippines intended to avoid the negative impact of sea cage operations where fish kills regularly occur,” he explained..

To underscore the need to develop more mariculture parks, Philippines, he said, will no longer have to import “galunggong” with these in place.

“China has the technology but it has four seasons–winter, spring, summer and autumn, that is why it can raise fish only half of the year,” Sarmiento said as he stressed the Philippines has the best potential for aquaculture than any other country of the world.

He recalled that when he was BFAR national director, they have established about 20 mariculture parks in the Visayas and in Mindanao to help ensure the supply of fish that can not be delivered by marine production.

One mariculture park, he said, is about 50 hectares in area and each hectare will normally have from 10 to 15 units of fish cages.

The mariculture area is delineated by local government units and the basic rule being prescribed is there shall be  “no overcrowding”, “no overstocking”, and “no over-feeding”.

The mariculture park in Sual town was initiated by LGU Sual which BFAR was allowed to regulate in order to ensure the quality of water and prevent pollution.

He said mariculture parks set up by BFAR in the Visayas and Mindanao never had to experience fish kill and added that the other countries now  have to depend on aquaculture to arrest the sharp decline of marine fishes in the open seas on account of overfishing.

Meanwhile, Sarmiento underscored the important role that National Integrated Fisheries Technology Development Center (NIFTDC) in promoting aquaculture, a priority of the Duterte administration. (Leonardo Micua)

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