By Development Communication Section
“We (AQD) will stay on our course, as we strive to continue as provider of relevant technologies that will help fish farmers remain competitive in the era of free trade. We are confident that we can do this with the support from the Philippine government, the governments of SEAFDEC member countries and other partners in the aquaculture industry,” said AQD Chief Dr. Felix Ayson during AQD’s 41st Anniversary program held on 11 July 2014.
Dr. Ayson also mentioned that it makes him proud to see that AQD’s accomplishments such as the development of science-based aquaculture technologies for the past 41 years are very tangible and visible in the aquaculture industry both in the Philippines and the Southeast Asian region. He cited the adoption of the feed formulation by fish farmers in Northern Luzon, Philippines which enabled them to grow milkfish to 500 grams in just five months. The feed formulation was the product of research done by AQD nutrition expert Dr. Relicardo Coloso funded by the United Soybean Board. He also mentioned that an improved feed formulation which can shorten the culture period to 3.5 months is ready for testing in large-scale production systems.
He also recognized the efforts of the mud crab team lead by Dr. Emilia Quinitio for the significant strides they have made in improving the breeding & seed production and the culture technologies of mangrove crab with funding support from ACIAR (Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research), EU (European Union), and GOJ (Government of Japan). An improved artificial feed for mud crab is also now available through the efforts of the mud crab and nutrition team. Moreover, recently, Dr. Quinitio was also featured in the Agriculture magazine for the story on soft-shell mud crab farming. At present, continued improvement as well as nationwide dissemination of production technologies of mud crab is made possible by the generous support of DOST-PCAARRD (Department of Science and Technology- Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development) through the national R&D mud crab program.
The Chief also took pride in sharing the news from the president of the Seaweed Industry Association of the Philippines Mr. Maximo Ricohermoso that the seedlings of Kappaphycus, produced in the AQD Seaweeds laboratory through tissue culture, that are being field tested in the seaweed farms in Bohol are performing very well. The growth rate observed was about 6-7% per day while the current seedlings from cuttings used have only about 2% growth rate.
The new developments on abalone such as the development of feeds for grow-out and broodstock for better reproductive performance were also given notice. This is important because it will pave the way for the production of abalone in areas with limited supply of the seaweed Gracilaria (food of abalone). AQD nutrition expert Dr. Myrna Teruel is also currently testing in larger scale the performance of a microparticulate feed for the early stage of abalone production.
SEAFDEC Secretary General Dr. Chumnarn Pongsri commended AQD for these accomplishments and progress in the Department’s research work. He was also grateful to AQD for aligning its research activities with the priority and needs of the SEAFDEC member countries.
AQD’s achievements would not be possible without the able help of its partners and collaborators. Engr. Maria Teresa de Guzman of PCAARRD said that AQD and PCAARRD should build on each other’s expertise and to have a more dynamic collaboration to be able to push not only the technologies developed but also tangible products and services to the market.
BFAR Region 6 Director Dr. Drusila Esther Bayate on the other hand pointed out that with the upcoming ASEAN integration by 2015 with the battle cry, “efficient management of the value chain, production from responsible and sustainable practices, food safety and traceability,” AQD’s relevance will now be highlighted due to the need for advanced aquaculture technologies that have minimal impact on the environment and on biodiversity.
AQD Deputy Chief Dr. Takuro Shibuno concluded the 41st Anniversary program with the call to everyone to do their share to help sustain the aquaculture industry for the betterment of the ASEAN community.