Dr. Cesario Pagdilao (seated right), deputy executive director, signs for PCAARRD while Dr. Felix Ayson, Chief, does the same for AQD. Standing as witnesses are AQD researchers and PCAARRD officers (L-R: Dr. Fe Dolores Estepa, Dr. Veronica Alava, Ms. Adela Corpuz, Ms. Ester Zaragoza, Dr. Emilia Quinitio, Dr. Adelaida Calpe, Ms. Virna Salac)
The Philippine DOST (Department of Science & Technology) has approved the joint Php19.6 million proposal of SEAFDEC/AQD and UPV (University of the Philippines Visayas) for a “National mud crab science & technology program”. The ultimate goal is to establish mud crab hatcheries and nurseries in the Philippines to increase availability of seedstock for farming and maintain or improve the country’s status as the second largest producer of mud crab in the world.
AQD signed the agreement with PCAARRD-DOST (Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic & Natural Resources Research & Development, as monitoring agency for the program) on 12 July 2012 at AQD’s main station in Iloilo.
“With this, mud crab R&D will be a major activity for AQD,” noted AQD Chief Dr. FG Ayson, “In addition to DOST, we also work to support the mud crab program of DA-BFAR (Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources) as well as the mangrove rehabilitation program of DENR (Department of Environment & Natural Resources) where mud crab is one of the commodities that they plan to introduce in mangrove areas. AQD and partners must be ready with appropriate science-based technologies.”
The three-year program aims to come up with improved diets for broodstock & grow-out, more viable hatchery & nursery technology, and improved grow-out management strategies for the mud crab Scylla serrata. Capacity building of stakeholders is included to hasten technology transfer and extension.
The program has AQD’s verification & demonstration division head and scientist Dr. Emilia Quinitio as overall program leader. It consists of seven projects, five to be done by AQD and two by UPV researchers/faculty (led by Dr. Jerome Genodepa): (1) development of techniques for sustainable production of marine annelids as feed for crab broodstock; (2) improvement of larval rearing protocol; (3) refinement of efficient diets for nursery culture; (4) application of strategies for reduction of cannibalism in crab nursery; (5) evaluation of existing feed formulation for grow-out; (6) development of feeding strategies for grow-out culture in ponds, pens & cages; and (7) development of immunostimulant for mud crab S. serrata.