Monthly Archives: August 2011

Research awards

2011 Elvira O Tan Memorial AwardsAQD scientist Dr. Emilia Quinitio received this year’s prestigious Dr. Elvira O. Tan Memorial Award for her paper “Domestication of the mud crab Scylla serrata.” Her work was chosen as the best published paper in the inland fisheries category. The EO Tan award is given by the (Philippine) Department of Science and Technology (DOST). Her co-authors are Ms. Joana Joy de la Cruz, Dr. Maria Rowena Eguia, Dr. Fe Dolores Estepa, Mr. Gaudioso Pates, and Dr. Celia Lavilla-Pitogo. The award was given on 29 July at the University of the Philippines Los Baños.

research-awards-laranjaIn addition, AQD associate researcher Mr. Joseph Leopoldo Laranja Jr. won second place for his work “Effects of dietary L-tryptophan on the agonistic behavior, growth, and survival of juvenile mud crab Scylla serrata”  in the search for the Best Research Award for Young Scientist  (BRAYS), agricultural science research category, given by Merck Inc. Philippines in cooperation with DOST. Dr. Emilia Quinitio, Dr. Mae Catacutan, and Dr. Relicardo Coloso co-authored the paper. Mr. Laranja received his award on 13 May at the Diamond Hotel, Manila.

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AQD begins new program


(CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT) The SEAFDEC Secretary-General and the Thai Department of Fisheries Director-General at the booth of Lao PDR; the aquaculture session; the exhibit of children's drawings from the 11 member countries, inset is the work of 15-year old Pim Sub-arnaek; and some of the resource persons and panelists for aquaculture, including AQD Chief Dr. JD Toledo (first row, second from right) who reported the outcome at the final plenary session.

AQD begins new work program after the conclusion of the ASEAN-SEAFDEC Conference on sustainable fisheries for food security towards 2020 that was held 13-17 June 2011 in Bangkok, Thailand. With partner institutions, AQD will focus on thematic areas, from ensuring quality seed supply to meeting social & economic needs of SEAFDEC member countries.

For more information, you may view the ministerial session’s joint press statement here.

Also view the Plan of action on sustainable fisheries for food security for the ASEAN region towards 2020.



Read in Thai.


Read in Bahasa.


Read in Japanese.


Read in Filipino.

AQD gets the thumbs up

asec salacup.dir perez.aqd chief.fp

(LEFT TO RIGHT) DA Assistant Secretary Hon. Salvador Salacup, BFAR VI Regional Director Ms. Drusila Esther Bayate, BFAR National Director Atty. Asis Perez, AQD Chief Dr. Joebert Toledo, SEAFDEC Coordinator for the Philippines Mr. Jonathan Dickson, and Executive Secretary to the DA Assistant Secretary Mr. Rodrigo Macapangay


AQD gets the thumbs up from the Philippine Department of Agriculture and its Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) for 38 years of developing science-based technologies for the aquaculture sector. BFAR National Director Atty. Asis Perez committed BFAR to utilizing the valuable research done by SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department (AQD). He also expressed his appreciation to AQD for coming up with a low-cost, small-scale, abalone and multi-species marine fish hatchery which, he said, is what our country needs.

As part of AQD’s weeklong anniversary celebration, a technology lecture series (left inset) with invited guests from the private sector and the academe was held on 6 July. Furthermore, three events took place on 7 July. These were (1) auction of artwork done by Filipino schoolchildren to benefit the Malalison community, (2) the Dean Domiciano Villaluz Memorial lecture on Feed formulation for healthy and wholesome aquaculture by AQD Scientist Dr. Relicardo Coloso (middle inset), and (3) the launching of AQD’s new publications including two aquaculture extension manuals, six flyers, one poster, AQD’s annual report, the proceedings of the Regional technical consultation on sustainable aquaculture development for food security in Southeast Asia towards 2020, and AQD institutional repository.

Meanwhile, AQD Scientist Dr. Emilia Quinitio (right inset) was given a Certificate of recognition for bagging this year’s Dr. Elvira O. Tan Memorial award given by the Department of Science and Technology (Philippines) for best published paper in the inland fisheries category for her work, Domestication of the mud crab Scylla serrata.

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"We trust that SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department (AQD) will continue to work with us particularly in strengthening research and development in the fisheries sector," is the message of the Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Hon. Proceso Alcala as delivered by DA Assistant Secretary (ASec) Hon. Salvador Salacup during AQD's 38th anniversary program on 8 July. Secretary Alcala also assured AQD that DA will support the institution's efforts to increase aquaculture production and to help improve fish farmer's income. ASec Salacup also gave his own message to AQD where he emphasized that all research agencies involved in fisheries should complement research directions to avoid duplication of work. He also added that, "we (agencies involved) have to work hard and be efficient on the limited resources that our fishery sector has in possession, particularly the government agencies."


Mr. Arsenio Santos III (in black), a representative from the private sector, receives a set of new publications at the ceremonial turnover of books; with him are (L-R) AQD Scientist Dr. ET Quinitio, Training & information division head Mr. Renato Agbayani, Research division head Dr. Evelyn Grace Ayson, and AQD Chief Dr. JD Toledo

GAPs mean food safety

Good aquaculture practices (GAPs) mean production of safe aquaculture products for human consumption. This is the consensus of 17 experts from SEAFDEC member countries who attended the International seminar on food safety in aquaculture in Southeast Asia on 22 January in Iloilo, Philippines. The seminar was hosted by SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department (AQD) and funded by the Government of Japan Trust Fund (GOJ-TF), and was intended to share new information on food safety in Southeast Asia.

Food safety has become an important issue because most of the food fish that people are eating already comes from aquaculture; according to FAO, 43% of the world’s fish supply in 2008 is from aquaculture. Under fish culture conditions and without GAPs microbiological contaminants, antibiotic residues, chemical contaminants, and parasites can become problems.

GAPs is an integrated approach to fishfarming that includes, among others, appropriate fish health management and effluent management practices that would no longer necessitate the use of antibiotics and other harmful products.

At AQD, studies on food safety are funded by GOJ-TF and AQD, including (1) the determination of withdrawal periods of antibiotics in shrimps, milkfish and other freshwater fish species; (2) the surveillance of chemical contaminants in aquaculture products like feeds as well as chemical residues in aquaculture systems and cultured fish; (3) investigation of the situation of antibiotics/chemicals usage and regulations in aquaculture; and (4) establishment of guidelines on the proper usage of antibiotic and chemicals in aquaculture.

AQD’s laboratory and research facilities are capable of conducting microbiological, chemical, and PCR-based analyses used in monitoring food safety. AQD’s analytical procedures and protocols are verifiable by third-parties; in particular, AQD has passed the Inter-Laboratory Calibration Test (ring test) for the detection of shrimp viruses conducted by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) through the University of Arizona (USA).

Governments in Southeast Asia have taken measures to ensure food safety to protect its public. Thailand and the Philippines, for example, are monitoring residues of harmful substances in fish and inspecting aquafarms. Farms that passed the set standards for GAPs are certified as safe sources of food fish.

Participants included representatives from Cambodia (1), Malaysia (1), Myanmar (1), Thailand (2), Singapore (3), and the Philippines (10) and 30 AQD researchers and staff.

The seminar was organized by Dr. RM Coloso (chair), Dr. M Catacutan, Ms. M Arnaiz, Ms. KG Corre (members), and Dr. Azuma (adviser).


AQD Chief Dr. Joebert Toledo notes that AQD and its partners will continue to work toward sustainable development and responsible stewardship of aquaculture resources through research and the promotion of appropriate aquaculture technologies and information relevant to Southeast Asia


Deputy Chief Dr. Teruo Azuma introduces the rationale and objectives of the seminar


Morning session lecturers (L-R): Ms. Consuelo Baltazar (Philippine Bureau of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources), Dr. Bah Piyan Tan (Department of Fisheries – Malaysia), Engr. Nelson Golez (Central Philippine University) and Dr. Rolando Pakingking Jr (AQD). They introduced the status of food safety in Southeast Asia, including how far the countries have gone in terms of good aquaculture practices, fish health management, and HACCP


Afternoon session lecturers (L-R): Ms. Josette Gonzaga and Ms. Margarita Arnaiz (AQD), Ms. Neo Shan Yu (SEAFDEC Singapore), Ms. Mukda Uttarapong (Department of Fisheries – Thailand), Ms. Simeona Regidor (BFAR), Ms. Kaylin Corre and Dr. Leobert de la Peña (AQD). They discussed the tools in evaluating food safety, policy regulations, and AQD’s strategy for training & information on food safety

AQD trains BFAR on five technologies

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Participants of the Training of trainers on abalone hatchery and grow-out sample abalone juveniles. Meanwhile, three special trainees from the Maldives Food & Drug Authority (inset) attended a short-term training course and study tour on aquaculture from 24 to 30 May 2011. Their activities were financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

AQD completed the five training courses intended to enhance and strengthen the capacity and capability of BFAR’s regional fisheries training centers in aquaculture. The “Training of trainers on hatchery and nursery of selected aquaculture species” was attended by a total of 98 training center staff coming from Aparri, Albay, Samar, Cebu, Palawan, Zamboanga and Davao. The first batch was trained on abalone (29 March to 18 April), the second on seaweeds (26 April to 10 May), the third on sandfish (4 to 17 May), the fourth on marine fish (19 May to 24 June) and the fifth on mud crab (27 June to 19 July).

The courses were held at AQD’s Tigbauan Main Station and Dumangas Brackishwater Station in Iloilo. AQD resource persons lectured on topics such as seed production, nursery & grow-out, and economic evaluation. Moreover, the participants had practical demonstrations on larval rearing as well as  microalgae / Artemiaculture and feeding.

BFAR and AQD funded the training of trainers under an agreement signed in early 2011.

Research collaboration


Research at SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department (AQD) aims to develop and refine science-based aquaculture technologies, and strengthen responsible aquaculture in Southeast Asia.

To uphold this goal, AQD welcomes research collaboration with academic and R&D institutions, non-government organizations, private sector, and government agencies in SEAFDEC member countries and other parts of the world. Proposals maybe submitted, assessed, and approved at anytime within the year.

Research priorities

Why collaborate with us?

Number of papers published by AQD researchers from 1976 to September 2008

Flow chart for proposals

Sample research topics of students/institutions who collaborated with AQD

Research priorities

Proposals are usually in areas that AQD consider as priorities. However, collaborators may work on their own areas of interest.

At present, the following economically important commodities are under study at AQD:

• mollusks (abalone, top shell, giant clam, oyster-mussel)

• crustaceans (mudcrab, tiger shrimp, white shrimps, giant freshwater prawn)

• fishes (grouper, milkfish, tilapia, bighead carp, catfish, seabass, snapper, siganids)

• seaweeds (Gracilaria, Kappaphycus)

• diatoms/microalgae

Collaboration may be on the various life stages of the above species (broodstock, hatchery, nursery, grow-out).

If the interest is on biotechnology, AQD has a well-equipped Laboratory for advanced aquaculture technologies and enclosed wet laboratories for the isolated confinement of hormone-treated or genetically manipulated commodities.

Studies that can be conducted at the biotechnology laboratories include:

• molecular microbiology (rapid disease detection and diagnosis)

• molecular endocrinology and genetics (growth enhancement and genetic characterization of wild stocks)

• algal production (strain improvement in seaweeds and high density production of algae used as food for fish, crustacean, and mollusk larvae)

• fish feed technology (nutrient enhancement and development of low-polluting diets)

Why collaborate with us?

• We have the facilities to do studies in tanks, ponds, and cages. We also have state-of-the-art biotechnology laboratories.

• We have multidisciplinary teams, and we have the track record for research (see table).

Number of papers published by AQD researchers from 1976 to September 2008

Commodity ISI-CC covered science journals Other science journals Proceedings/books
Abalone 14 2 4
Bighead carp 11 5 13
Catfish 18 3 10
Freshwater prawn 1 3
Grouper 29 9 37
Milkfish 121 40 48
Mudcrab 26 14 13
Mollusks (other than abalone) 15 7 12
Seabass 42 7 19
Seaweeds 33 13 12
Siganids 25 5 14
Snapper 11 1 11
Tiger shrimp 141 58 85
Tilapia 42 15 27
Fish health 93 21 85
Larval food, feed development and fish nutrition 191 43 95
Stock enhancement 4 1 4
Mangroves, aquatic ecology and environment 71 22 59
Socioeconomics and coastal fisheries resources management 26 21 25
Others 31 10 37

Note: Some papers are cross-cited in several commodities though the total number of AQD’s published papers since 1976 to September 2008 is 1,263

ISI-CC is Institute of Scientific Information’s Current Contents

AQD research facilities

sea cages

brackishwater ponds

cages in lakes

hatcheries & laboratories

biotechnology facilities

Flow chart for proposals

Sample research topics of students/institutions who collaborated with AQD:

• Comparison of the growth performance and survival of giant freshwater prawn in cages fed with natural food or commercially formulated feeds (Hohenheim University, Stuttgart, Germany, 2008)

• Comparison of characteristics of KHV isolates from Asia (Fisheries Research Agency, Japan, 2004)

• Insulin-like growth factor II (IGF-II) as molecular markers for egg quality in finfish and mudcrab (Australian Center for International Agricultural Research, 2004)

• Development of release strategies for stock enhancement of the tropical abalone Haliotis asinina (International Foundation Science, 2003)

• Improvement of growth and survival in cultured rabbitfish (Siganus guttatus) (United States AID, 2000)

• Development of bio-encapsulated feed for larval fish based on nutritionally enriched nematodes:free-living nematodes as feed for bighead carp larvae (European Union, 1998)

• Influence of some environmental factors on growth rate and agar quality of selected Gracilaria species found in Iloilo (University of the Philippines Diliman, 1993)

• Methionine requirement of milkfish (Chanos chanos Forsskal) juveniles (University of the Philippines Visayas, 1990)

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