BFAR says fisheries modernization goal is to reduce import reliance


THE Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) described its 2022 fisheries modernization plan as a catch-up program designed to minimize the need for importing fish this year.

According to the BFAR, the plan hopes to address the projected annual deficit in the supply of fish, a key source of protein for the population, of 44,000 metric tons this year.

“This is more than 1% short of what is needed to attain full sufficiency… the bureau recommends focusing on innovation, modernization and intensification,” it added.

The BFAR said the program will improve the design and expand the use of Fish Aggregating Devices in strategic fishing areas; mechanize irrigation, and provide pond aeration to fish farms, and establish a cold chain in island municipalities to reduce post-harvest losses.

“Through the establishment of more fish aggregating devices… and production of more seedstocks for the aquaculture sector, this catch-up plan seeks to unlock the hidden potential of… the fishery sector as a whole in ensuring fish sufficiency,” BFAR Director Nestor D. Domenden said.

According to Mr. Domenden, the National Fish Broodstock Development Program will expand the supply of milkfish (bangus) as well as other high-value species such as siganids, snapper, pompano, grouper, and sea bass. 

He also called for stepped-up seed and fish fry production through the establishment of more hatcheries.

“The program aims to boost the local production of fingerlings, reduce the need for fry imports, and bring down the cost of aquaculture production,” he added.

The bureau is also pushing to optimize operations at mariculture parks.

“Innovation in the fishery sector will also be prioritized through the promotion of urban aquaculture and unconventional production systems such as tanks, dams, small water impounding ponds, small farm reservoirs (SFR), and natural ground level or elevated fishponds, as well as enhancing aquaculture through the use of green energy,” the BFAR said.

The catch-up plan will be in operation for the remainder of the year. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson