Friday , 21 June 2024

Quality seed for sustainable aquaculture

For years, Southeast Asia has been known as a major contributor to world aquaculture production. This can be attributed to the fact that most Asian countries have developed and refined seed production and farming techniques for major commercially important aquaculture species and are now more aware of the merits of using quality seeds in aquaculture. Good quality seedstock means fit, ‘clean’, uniformly-sized fry, fingerlings, or juveniles (and for seaweeds, plantlets) that subsequently express good performance attributes during culture. These beneficial traits are desirable color, shape, good growth, health, efficient feed conversion, high reproduction, tolerance to and survival in poor and/or extreme environmental conditions. Success in the sustainable production of aquatic species for human consumption depends primarily on the availability of such good quality seedstock apart from the adoption of optimal husbandry techniques. With the intensification of aquaculture systems and the environmental challenges such as those resulting from climate change, both factors — genetic quality and culture management should be considered as equally important in ensuring a steady yield of good quality seeds and later, marketable products from aquaculture.

Program description

The program shall cover studies and activities that will determine optimal conditions and methods for the production of quality seedstock in sufficient quantities. The research activities entail the use of conventional methods of stock improvement such as domestication, broodstock management, strain evaluation and selective breeding or genetic improvement of traditional and emerging freshwater and marine species. The purpose of the genetic intervention is to enhance traits such as growth rate, survival, disease/stress tolerance that ultimately lead to the production of good quality seedstock. Both broodstock and seedstock improvement by way of nutritional intervention are also considered. Suitable hatchery and nursery protocols shall be developed and refined depending on the level of technology for each species. These technologies shall be verified and once mature, shall be packaged into the most viable or cost-effective method for broodstock and seed production. Finally, industry stakeholders, primarily the fish farmers shall be informed of the advances in seed production methods, through training, and the availability of the improved seed stocks through information dissemination and extension work.

Program goal

Generate, verify and promote technologies to ensure the sustainable production of quality seedstock for aquaculture as well as for stock enhancement.


  1. develop good quality broodstock for both traditionaland emerging species through domestication, genetic and nutritional intervention, and the implementation of proper stock management protocols;
  2. improve quality and production of seedstock through the refinement of hatchery and nursery management methods;
  3. develop schemes for the production, management, maintenance and dissemination of genetically selected and improved stocks;
  4. produce sufficient seedstock through the adoption of economically viable seed production systems; and
  5. build the capability of fishfarmers and other industry stakeholders in appropriate breeding and larval rearing technologies through training, extension and information dissemination

2012-2016 Targets

Shrimps/prawns and mud crabs

  • Potential sources of good quality broodstock surveyed in several sites in the Philippines; stocks collected for genetic documentation and genetic variability determined for the tiger shrimp, giant freshwater prawn and mud crabs
  • Improved and efficient low pollution prawn broodstock diet developed
  • Stocks of the monkey river prawn Macrobrachium lar surveyed, evaluated and larval rearing requirements of this indigenous prawn species determined
  • Broodstock management methods to improve growth and reproductive efficiency in giant freshwater prawn stocks developed
  • Best strategy to minimize inbreeding in giant freshwater prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii stocks determined
  • Growth and breeding performance in tiger shrimp and white shrimp improved
  • Techniques developed for production of healthy captive broodstock and spawners of tiger shrimps
  • Families of white shrimp showing higher degree of tolerance to diseases identified and selectively bred
  • Techniques for mass production of polychaetes for feeding shrimp broodstock developed
  • Larval/nursery rearing techniques for mud crab improved/refined
  • Effective strategies to reduce cannibalism in mud crabs during the nursery phase developed
  • Economic viability of producing juveniles for soft-shelled crab farming determined

Marine and freshwater fishes

  • Effects of dietary protein energy levels on breeding known and broodstock diet produced
  • Reproductive biology of the Napoleon wrasse Cheilinus undulatus known and the breeding requirements defined
  • Available milkfish Chanos chanos maturation diet improved
  • Genetic variation database of wild and hatchery stocks of milkfish in the Philippines completed
  • Maturation and seed production capacity of farmed groupers improved
  • Larval rearing protocol for grouper refined
  • Use of tryptophan in larval food evaluated in reducing cannibalism in carnivorous fishes
  • The efficiency of commercially available maturation diet known
  • Mass production method for producing polychaetes established
  • Conditions for mass production of marine traustochytrids known and traustochytrid strains tested as enrichment for larval live feed
  • Optimal conditions for the larval rearing of emerging marine species determined
  • Suitable formulated diet (based on lipid level) evaluatedNursery culture techniques for pompano in brackishwater ponds known
  • Seahorse juveniles produced for stock enhancement
  • Best saline-tolerant tilapia stock known and mass-produced
  • Genetic status of hatchery stocks of bighead carps Aristichthys nobilis in the Philippines known
  • Optimal conditions and natural food requirements for larval rearing in silver perch Leiopotherapon plumbeus known
  • Captive stocks of climbing perch bred and produced


  • Best genetic stock of abalone identified and used in selective breeding
  • Mass propagation techniques for Cocconeis sp. and Nitzchia spp. established
  • Higher abalone settlement rate, growth rate and postlarval survival achieved
  • Nutritional requirements of abalone broodstock for effective production of high quality seed known
  • Microparticulate diet for high settlement developed and metamorphosis more synchronized and larval survival improved
  • Stocks of donkey’s ear abalone evaluated in the growth phase and the best stock identified
  • Hybridization protocols established for the abalone; hybrids produced
  • Techniques to induce triploid abalone trochophore larvae developed


  • Protocols for the production of Kappaphycus hybrids with good quality developed; good quality seaweeds produced and evaluated
  • Molecular markers to aid selection in Kappaphycus developed

Sea cucumber or sandfish

  • Sandfish hatchery and nursery rearing operations standardized
  • Sandfish seed production target of >10,000 pieces per year, attained

All species

  • Economically viable methods for the production of seeds of freshwater fish, prawns, abalone and marine fish species established
  • Training courses and other capacity building activities on fish/crustacean/mollusk breeding and hatchery operations continued
  • Staff of Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-Regional Fisheries Training Centers (BFAR-RFTC) staff trained; AQD and RFTC-assisted demonstration farms established
  • Institutional Capacity Development for Sustainable Aquaculture  (ICDSA) for several local government technology recipients conducted
  • Clients under the Agree Build Operate and Transfer (ABOT) AquaNegosyo supported in terms of technical assistance in hatchery/nursery/grow-out operations
  • New manuals and updated  manuals on breeding and hatchery operations for selected species published
  • Information disseminated through popular and scientific publications and through participation in fairs and exhibits
AQD has worked on developing hatchery technologies of commercially important fishes
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