Broodstock development is no easy task. For milkfish, it had taken four years for a private fishpond operator to raise wild milkfish fry in brackishwater ponds, and this stock was bought by AQD in 2011. AQD held the milkfish for a year in its netcages at Igang Marine Station (IMS) in Guimaras before these were transported on 2 April 2012 to its broodstock-hatchery facilities in Tigbauan Main Station (TMS) in Iloilo, Philippines. In TMS, these breeders (2-2.5 kg) will be conditioned in tanks for one to two years before they are expected to spawn. After conditioning in tanks, they will be fed fortified broodstock diet developed by AQD researcher Ms. Ofelia Reyes in order for them to produce good quality eggs. It will take not less than 5 years for milkfish to be grown and conditioned into broodstock/breeders.
In 2011, AQD’s milkfish hatchery produced about 60 million eggs (92% average fertilization rate), 11.5 million newly-hatched larvae and 5.28 million fry. By 2014-2015, more hatchery production is expected by AQD with the new set of breeders.
To transport milkfish broodstock: (A) install air stones in the milkfish broodstock transport box; (B & C) prepare PVC pipes to contain individual milkfish broodstock and monitor the temperature, dissolved oxygen and salinity of the water in the transport box; (D& E) scoop out and transfer milkfish broodstock from cages to a tub containing 2-phynoxy ethanol to sedate the broodstock; (F) place the individually sedated milkfish inside the PVC pipe; (G) haul the transport box; and (H) release the broodstock in the tank after taking these out of the pipes.