The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said it has completed the construction of nine legislated multi-species hatcheries and aquaculture facilities nationwide.
The number of completed hatcheries by BFAR is only about 25 percent of the 37 hatcheries and facilities that it is mandated to build under 22 Republic Acts passed by the 16th, 17th and 18th Congresses.
BFAR said, however, that 21 hatcheries and facilities are now under construction and will be completed within the first half.
The agency said 37 hatcheries will be completed by the end of the year. It said it allocated P635 million for the construction of the hatcheries.
“Agriculture Secretary William Dollente Dar has ensured that the construction of all these hatcheries, being among the priority thrusts of the government on food security, were provided with complete funding,” the bureau said in a statement over the weekend.
BFAR, an attached bureau of the Department of Agriculture, said the legislated hatcheries program seeks to boost domestic fish production. It also aims to reduce the country’s dependence on imported fry.
“Further, it aims to increase the variety of cultivable species in the country, promote species diversification, and provide venues for fisheries extension services.”
BFAR said the completed hatcheries are in Perez, Quezon; Baras, Viga, Panganiban, Bagamanoc, San Andres, Caramoran, and Pandan in Catanduanes; and in Sultan Naga Dimaporo in Lanao del Norte.
The 21 legislated hatcheries that are under construction include three mangrove crab seed banks, nurseries and grow-out production in Catanduanes, nine multi-species marine hatcheries in Quezon and nine multispecies marine hatcheries in Quezon.
“Aside from hatcheries and a nursery, there are also seven Provincial Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Training, Development and Product Centers currently in construction in provinces in Eastern Visayas,” the BFAR said.
“Among the partners in the implementation of the Program is the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center/Aquaculture Department who helped prepare the feasibility studies, provided assistance in identifying suitable sites, helped in designing the hatcheries, and lent their expertise in developing hatchery models at its Tigbauan Station.”
BFAR said it will manage the hatchery and aquaculture facilities during the first two years of operation of the legislated establishments. During that time, the BFAR added that it will provide technical training to local government units that will eventually take full responsibility of the facilities.
“The Legislated Hatcheries Program is parallel with one of the key strategies under Secretary Dar’s ‘OneDA Reform Agenda,’ which seeks to modernize the agri-fisheries sector through infrastructure investments,” it said.