By Tara Yap
ILOILO CITY—The Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center/Aquaculture Department (AQD) (SEAFDEC/AQD) based in southern Iloilo is pushing for the increase of the country’s fishery production through rigorous research and development (R&D) programs.
“It (R&D) is instrumental in achieving a common goal: increase fish production,” said SEAFDEC/AQD chief Dan Baliao during the recent 45th anniversary celebrations of its headquarters in Tigbauan town.
While an intergovernmental body in Southeast Asia, SEAFDEC/AQD has refocused on technology transfers to revive the country’s production of milkfish, tilapia, seaweed, shrimp, and shellfishes.
In particular, Baliao mentioned the “Oplan Balik Sugpo” program of SEAFDEC/AQD with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR). The program is anchored on early detection of diseases among prawn stocks that is aimed to revive a multimillion-dollar industry.
Another project SEAFDEC/AQD is undertaking with BFAR is the mangrove crab seed banks, nurseries and grow-out farms in Catanduanes province.
Baliao also mentioned how BFAR national director Eduardo Gongona is challenging SEAFDEC/AQD to reduce the cost of aquaculture feed by 50 percent that is a constraint to many aquaculture business.
Baliao said there’s also a need to beef up human resources by training the next batch of aqua-culturists to continue these R&Ds.
Meanwhile, SEAFDEC/AQD unveiled two markers for the buildings named after Dr. Quiterio Miravite and Dean Domiciano Villaluz. Miravite was instrumental in the establishment of SEAFDEC/AQD headquarters in Iloilo while Villaluz served as AQD’s first chief when it opened in 1975.