AFTER serving at SEAFDEC/AQD for more than 32 years, Dr. Maria Lourdes Cuvin-Aralar, who recently retired as scientist, shared in a memorial lecture her career’s achievements in establishing the commercial and environmental viability of producing giant freshwater prawns through cage culture.
“Cage culture is suited for marginalized fish farmers who have no land to develop into ponds. It also requires very minimal start-up investment,” said Dr. Aralar during her lecture as speaker for the 27th Dean Domiciano K. Villaluz (DKV) Memorial Lecture held last 11 July 2019 at AQD’s Tigbauan Main Station.
This year’s forum and clinic, which lasted the entire day, was attended 187 participants who are mostly local fish farmers, pond operators, government officials, and members of the academe.
With various refinements in stocking density and feeding techniques, cage culture of giant freshwater prawn can be a very feasible option for aquaculture farmers. It used to be a “neglected” species as the market favors other marine crustaceans.
However, Dr. Aralar presented the commodity as an alternate high-value crustacean species to freshwater commodities such as carp, tilapia, and catfish. To further prove its practicability, giant freshwater prawn can be polycultured with the aforementioned species as supported by related studies also done in AQD.
Dr. Aralar also presented current problems including depleting wildstocks in many of the country’s inland waters despite the fact that this commodity is native to the Philippines. This is usually due to degradation of riverine routes to estuaries.
“Farming of this species will not only be good for fish farmers but also for the environment as it can be a way of bringing stocks back to the inland waters,” Dr. Aralar added.
The annual DKV Memorial Lecture honors distinguished experts from different fields in aquaculture and is held every AQD anniversary in remembrance of the first AQD Chief.