BFAR-NIFTDC pilots new hybrid tilapia in 5 towns

THE Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, through its research arm, has introduced a new generation of tilapia species in response to Department of Agriculture’s ‘Masaganang Ani, Mataas na Kita’ for village level farmers’ increased food production.

Dr. Lilian Garcia, director of the National Integrated Fisheries Technology Development Center (NIFTDC), said the new project on Saline Tilapia Molobicus will not only improve and increase food production but will help sustain food security in the country.

NIFTDC Tilapia Molobicus unit head Nerafe Muyalde said the towns of Binmaley, Lingayen, Bani, Bolinao, and Sual are the areas for the initial stage.

“Individual fish-farmers from each place were chosen as cooperators of Molobicus hatchery,” Muyalde said.

The five cooperators, composed of fish-farmers, were selected based on the criteria set by BFAR-NIFTDC: their facilities and their capabilities; background in tilapia or fish farming in general; and their source of water is brackish or saline water.

Dr, Westly Rosario, Molobicus Philippines project head and former BFAR-NIFTDC chief, said the Saline Tilapia Molobicus is a cross breeding of (O. niloticus x O. mossambicus).

“The molobicus is advantageous as it thrives on brackish water. While freshwater tilapia dies at salinity levels of 10-15 ppt (parts per thousand), the Molobicus has high salinity tolerance and can grow at 35 ppt,” Rosario said.

According to BFAR Regional Director Segundina Gaerlan, the project is a collaborative program where NIFTC-Dagupan center conducted the research while the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) provided the funding and the regional office promotes the propagation of Molobicus Tilapia in fishponds.

“The cooperators are not required to give back anything to the government for the assistance or opportunity given to them. The goal is to effectively transfer to farmer cooperators hatchery protocols,” Gaerlan said. (PIA/VHS)

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