By: Mae Angelica Fabito- Famini, PSTC- Romblon,
Athena Colline L. Verdey, DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Office,
Ma. Josefina P. Abilay, DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Office

Dr. Evelyn Grace Ayson talks about the Philippine Milkfish Industry to the attendees of the Technology Forum on Bangus and SeaweedDr. Evelyn Grace Ayson talks about the Philippine Milkfish Industry to the attendees of the Technology Forum on Bangus and Seaweed

        As part of the 3rd MIMAROPA Festival celebrated in Romblon, a Forum on Bangus and Seaweeds Technologies was held on November 22, 2017 at Sato Dizon Arcade, Tabing-dagat, Odiongan Romblon.

       The Department of Science and Technology-MIMAROPA through its Provincial Science and Technology Center in Romblon (PSTC-Romblon), with the Provincial Government of Romblon, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources- MIMAROPA (BFAR- MIMAROPA), and Department of Trade and Industry-MIMAROPA (DTI-MIMAROPA) organized the forum to promote the burgeoning milkfish and seaweed industry in the province and tap its full potential to bring a more robust contribution to the regional economy. The forum also aimed to create more opportunities for fisherfolk and entrepreneurs, given that Romblon is blessed with the resources that it can take advantage of and highlight the importance of technological innovations in the aquaculture industry, specifically in transforming raw materials into innovative and market-competitive products.

From left to right: Dr. Evelyn Grace Ayson, Romblon Governor Eduardo Firmalo, Ms. Ma Rovilla Luhan, and PSTC- Romblon PSTD Ms. Marcelina Servañez at the Technology Forum on Bangus and Seaweed

      Technical experts from the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) Dr. Evelyn Grace de Jesus- Ayson and Ms. Maria Rovilla Luhan shared various insights on milkfish and seaweed, respectively. According to Dr. Ayson, the head of SEAFDEC’s Research Division, fishermen and investors must increase aquaculture production to meet the demand for aquatic products of the fast-growing food production sector. In support, she added that half of the fisheries production comes from aquaculture and there is an increasing demand for milkfish as shown in the current annual production of 350,000MT versus the target for the year 2020 of 800,000MT. Culture methods, feeding management from nursery to grow-out, optimum levels of physico-chemical parameters, cage construction, and other technical aspects of milkfish farming was also discussed. Dr. de Jesus- Ayson also incorporated topics on costs and returns analysis to utilize milkfish for livelihood.

Ms. Ma. Rovilla Luhan talks about the Seaweed Industry in the Philippines

      On the other Hand, Ms. Luhan, an associate scientist from SEAFDEC emphasized that seaweed is one of the major products of aquaculture for export with 1,666,556MT production rate based in 2015 data followed by milkfish and tilapia with 257,132MT. She also said that 25% of the country’s total production of seaweed came from MIMAROPA specifically in Palawan next to ARMM having the highest contribution of 40% in 2015.

     Among the four species of economically important seaweeds, Eucheuma cottonii or commonly called as Red Seaweeds has the highest market demand in the Philippines, said Ms. Luhan. Red seaweed is fast growing, disease resistant, and native to the Philippines which make its farming method available all over the country. Additional topics discussed were requirements of seaweeds to grow, physical determinants in seaweed production, farming and culture techniques, types of vegetative propagation, post-harvest management and seaweeds processing.

       A total of 73 participants from different LGUs, NGAs, and private sector from all over MIMAROPA took part in the event. According to the Provincial Government of Romblon this Techno Forum will help enhance Romblon’s Milkfish Hatchery Facility and Seaweeds Farming.