LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – The provincial government of Pangasinan will construct bangus (milkfish) breeding and hatchery facilities next year to address the shortage of bangus fry in the province and help sustain fish sufficiency.
Governor Ramon Guico III said the project is eyed to help improve the fry requirement of around 39,399 fisherfolk, 63 bangus nursery operators, and one bangus satellite hatchery operator in the province.
“Karamihan kasi ng fingerlings ng bangus ay ini-import pa nila from Indonesia and from other provinces. At least with our own breeding and hatchery area, locally sourced na ang kanilang fingerlings,” Guico said in an interview.
The Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPAg) said with the low production of bangus fry from the wild and limited production from government and private bangus hatcheries, nursery operators in Pangasinan rely on bangus fry importation and sourcing from other regions.
Based on a research study conducted in 2021 by the University of the Philippines, the fry requirement of nursery operators in Pangasinan is 53.4 million annually; on average, each nursery operator needs 1.1 million pieces of fry.
Guico said with the facility, the province can produce over 100 million bangus fry and 48 million bangus larvae annually to provide for the needs of local producers.
Around 17 municipalities in the province that have small-scale bangus nursery operators, fisherfolk associations or cooperatives with nursery ponds, rehabilitation programs of the government and bangus satellite hatchery operators are expected to benefit.
The project is under the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) Scale-up program that aims to further support the government’s effort to improve farmers’ and fishermen’s access to markets as well as increase income from selected agri-fishery value chains.
The project, which will be constructed at the agriculture field station located in Brgy. Arnedo in Bolinao town, is a World Bank-assisted project worth P238.992 million.
Components of the project include seven units of broodstock tanks, 120 units of larval rearing tanks, 24 units of rotifer tanks, an administrative and laboratory building, staff quarters, a triplex building, a two-unit pump house, and an intake pump.
Guico said aside from the World Bank, which will shoulder 80% of the cost of the project, funds will be jointly undertaken by the national government with a 10% share and the provincial government with 10%.
Aside from its main objective to reduce dependence on wild-caught and imported hatchery-bred bangus fry, the project is also eyed to create alternative economic activity that will be derived from the bangus breeding and hatchery and hatchery project.
Likewise, it seeks to improve the services of the government through the provision of alternative sources of bangus fry for aquaculture and to serve as a techno-demo and training center for bangus hatchery operations for stakeholders in the province.
Pangasinan is the country’s leading producer of bangus.
It is followed by Capiz, Quezon, Pampanga, and Negros Occidental in no particular order. BY: ELSHA MARIE S. ARGUEL