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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, November 21, 2019
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Sustainable fishery mgm’t pushed
BY MARCHEL P. ESPINA

 

Senator Cynthia Villar underscored the importance of sustainable fishery management in the aquaculture industry as there should be a balancing act between protecting the oceans and providing food security.

Villar, chair of Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, yesterday led the opening rites of the three-day 12th National Shrimp Congress at the SMX Convention Center in Bacolod City.

In her speech, she said “concerns over overfishing have been raised worldwide. The fact that there is an ever-growing demand for fish and seafood makes the concern more urgent. Globally, seafood forms a significant portion of the diet of more than three billion people.”

Sustainable fisheries and better fishery management should be the goal for the government, she added.

She said the total annual aquaculture production of the country is around 2.7 million metric tons a year, with 60,000 and 70,000 MT in shrimp alone.

The aquaculture industry produces around 55 percent of the total fisheries production of the country, which is ranked sixth in the world, she added.

“As an archipelago and as an agricultural country, we need to keep on strengthening our competitive advantages and be more vigilant in protecting our resources as well as in implementing laws,” the senator said.

She also said that agriculture and fisheries mechanization is the first step towards efficient and economic farm and fishery management. “We will also continue supporting legislation that will build facilities for fisheries,” she added.

Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said the success of the shrimp industry means more jobs, opportunities, and food security for the Filipinos.

“It is my earnest hope that this Congress will successfully charter the course of the shrimp aquaculture in the years to come,” the governor added.

TREMENDOUS GROWTH

In a press conference yesterday, Constantine Tanchan, chair of the Shrimp Congress, said the industry has tremendous growth in the past years, and that it has developed in Visayas and Mindanao.

“We expect a very productive year next year. We hope that with government support and good government policies, we can really be part of the top 10 producers in the world in the next three years,” he said.

He said they are targeting to produce 150,000 to 200,000 MT of shrimp a year.

However, he noted that shrimp diseases such as white spot syndrome as well as calamities have been a challenge in propagating shrimp production.

Agriculture Undersecretary Eduardo Gongona, also director of Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, said partnership with the private sector is important for the industry’s growth.

Shrimp, as one of the major fishery exports in 2018, has more than 7,000 MT in export, worth P2.43 billion. He added that on an average, the shrimp and prawn production was at 60,000 MT.

“We have to consolidate small and medium farms so they can play a major role in the industry,” he said.

He also said the government is looking to lessen the overhead costs of the shrimp feeds which is at 70 to 80 percent, “if we can lessen that to 50 percent, it will result to happy farmers and happy consumers and the industry will go up,” he added.

Meanwhile, the regional office of BFAR and the Philippine Statistics Authority have yet to consolidate its data regarding the shrimp production in Western Visayas.

Remia Aparri, director of BFAR-Western Visayas, said the region ranked third in terms of shrimp production in the country, next to General Santos and Region 4-B.

She added that Negros Occidental remains the highest producer in the region, with an area of 500 hectares dedicated to shrimp.*

 

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