Monday , 22 July 2024

Maintaining environmental integrity through responsible aquaculture

This program was developed to address issues on the negative impacts of aquaculture on the environment and how these impacts will be minimized. It has been known that the phenomenal growth of aquaculture has caused modification, destruction or complete loss of habitat; unregulated collection of wild broodstocks and seeds; translocation or introduction of exotic species; loss of biodiversity; introduction of antibiotics and chemicals to the environment; discharge of aquaculture wastewater, thus coastal pollution; salinization of soil and water; and dependence on fishmeal and fish oil as aquaculture feed ingredient, to name a few. Asia, the birthplace of aquaculture, has been and is still experiencing all these. Particulate organic waste from fecal materials and uneaten food in intensive aquaculture production has the greatest potential to generate waste. These wastes can enrich aquatic ecosystems and may bring about physical and chemical changes in the water and sediment which may result to anoxic condition in extreme cases. Pond, pen and cage culture systems of both finfish and crustaceans can generate huge amount of organic waste that may cause drastic change to the natural ecosystems adjacent to them. SEAFDEC/AQD which has been developing aquaculture techniques for various species of finfish, crustaceans, mollusks and some new emerging species to boost fisheries production in the Philippines and other countries the Southeast Asian region has been taking the lead in looking at the impacts of these aquaculture activities to the environment.


Program Description

The program will generally focus on the impacts of aquaculture on the environment and how to minimize them. Aside from the goals that the program aims to achieve, it will also take into consideration the issues that emerged during the 2011 ASEAN-SEAFDEC Conference on Sustainable Fisheries such as the need for (i) better management of the aquaculture sector, particularly on the use of feeds and fertilizer, antibiotics and other chemicals; (ii) enabling policies to address environmental imbalance due to the destruction of habitats which leads to depletion of fish population and loss of biodiversity; and (iii) development of integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) in a tropical environment.


Program Goal

Develop environment-based aquaculture technology by integrating environmental factors in SEAFDEC/AQD research activities and to maintain environmental integrity by promoting responsible aquaculture practices.



  1. assess impacts of aquaculture on biodiversity, and water and sediment qualities in the culture areas and adjacent ecosystems both in marine and freshwater systems;
  2. identify appropriate extractive species that may be used in Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA);
  3. develop and promote efficient and suitable environment-friendly culture systems; and
  4. conduct biological and ecological studies on species with potential for resource enhancement.


2012-2016 Targets

A database of water quality parameters of the different stations of SEAFDEC/AQD

  • Bathymetry profile of Igang Marine Station (IMS) mapped
  • Water current and wave systems in IMS identified
  • Monitoring system for water and substrate quality at IMS established

A list of flora and fauna in Igang Marine Station and Tigbauan Main Station

  • Bottom ecosystems within IMS mapped
  • Documentation of marine biodiversity in the various marine habitats adjoining IMS and Igang Marine Protected (IMP) area: seagrass beds, islets and rock overhangs, coral terrace, sandy intertidal, and mangroves established
  • Documentation of the attached seaweeds and marine invertebrates and the free-swimming animals in, on, and around the net cages and supporting structures at IMS and IMP carried out
  • Reference collection of species from IMS and IMP cages and Igang Cove deposited at FishWorld and IMS
  • AQD book on biodiversity in Igang, Guimaras published
  • Scientific paper on biodiversity in marine cages in relation to adjoining habitats generated

Information on the carrying capacity of some freshwater systems in the country based on modelling

  • Cage Aquaculture Decision Support (CADS) Tool for freshwater systems refined
  • CADS Tool resulting in improved planning of cage management in freshwater systems disseminated and applied

Information on species and combination of species suitable for developing integrated multi-trophic aquaculture technology in tropical areas

  • Most suitable finfish species for polyculture/co-culture with sandfish identified
  • Protocol for the polyculture of finfish and sandfish established
  • Economics of monoculture vs co-culture systems established

Initial data or information on different environment-friendly culture systems suitable to various grow out systems

  • Data on sandfish culture in ponds, pens and sea ranch acquired and evaluated
  • Initial pond/pen/sea ranch culture management protocols for sandfish prepared
  • Capacity of mangrove clam or “imbao” Anodontia philippiana (a species of bivalve mollusc) in assimilating sulfide and sandfish Holothuria scabra in nutrient recycling to act as bioremediators in pond culture systems established

Establish strategies for stock enhancement, restocking or sea ranching of species

  • Success in rearing stocks of giant clam Tridacna gigas and in release of the same stocks in marine protected areas obtained
  • Growth and survival of released and wild giant clams in San Joaquin determined
  • Status of AQD giant clam stock enhancement sites identified
  • Data on population and fisheries of mud crabs in selected sites acquired
  • SEAFDEC/AQD hatchery-reared mud crabs released and subsequent landings monitored
  • Growth and survival of wild and hatchery reared abalone determined
  • Genetic profile of mud crab species, abalone populations in and around study sites established
  • DNA marker databases for mud crab and abalone stocks in pilot sites established


AQD promotes aquaculture technologies through innovations generated from research. Consequently, these science-based methods are disseminated effectively through training and AQD-assisted community livelihood projects
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