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DA harnesses innovative tech to boost ‘dalag,’ ‘hito’ production

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has bared the implementation of “innovative technologies” to boost the domestic production of mudfish (dalag) and catfish (hito), through the use of induced spawning techniques and nursery rearing protocols to expand the country’s fish supply.

In a recent news statement, the DA said its National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI) together with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) are developing induced spawning techniques and nursery rearing protocols for the two freshwater fish species.

The DA’s Biotechnology Program supports the development.

The DA explained that the development and implementation of these technologies would “increase the production of dalag and hito fingerlings that will be distributed to interested aquaculturists and fishpond operators.”

“The technologies will also help solve the perennial challenges facing the fishery industry, namely: high fishing pressure in the wild; human-induced harmful and illegal fishing activities; and ineffective cultural and management practices. These have invariably caused a decline in total fish catch from both aquaculture and marine waters,” it added.

The DA said the declining catch of fingerlings from the wild and lack of better technologies in the propagation of fish are considered “bottlenecks” in ensuring “sustainable” production of freshwater species like mudfish and catfish.

“Specifically, the NFRDI-BFAR biotechnology project on mudfish production aims to optimize the induced spawning techniques and nursery rearing protocols, whose outcome is a sustainable, cheaper and efficient way to produce dalag,” it added.

The DA said the two-year project, which started in October 2020, would produce a total of 300,000 mudfish fingerlings that will be distributed to fish farmers in Central Luzon and in Tanay, Rizal.

“On the other hand, the one-year project on catfish, initiated in January 2021, targets a continuous supply of quality fingerlings by improving induced spawning techniques and rearing protocols by engaging six village-level hatcheries and nurseries in La Union and Pangasinan,” the DA said.

“The project aims to produce 1.2 million hito fingerlings and attain a 10-percent growth in production and more importantly achieve a three-fold increase in profit,” the DA added.

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