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BFAR, Catanduanes School Join Hands in Fish Hatchery Project

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 7 (PNA) -- The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is working with the Catanduanes State University (CSU) in the operation of a fish hatchery facility designed to help the province of Catanduanes improve the performance of its fishery industry.

The hatchery is now functioning as a modern facility for aquaculture, stock enhancement and genetic conservation through trapping of adult and spawning fishes, crabs, shrimps and mollusks.

It features ponds and tanks for egg and fry incubation and rearing juveniles before releasing them to their natural habitat in mangrove areas where stocks are assessed based on their function for ecosystem conservation services.

Presently being reared in the hatchery are portunid crabs, siganids or rabbitfishes, epinephelids or groupers, cichlid fish (tilapia) and tiger prawn and shrimps.

The hatchery will add bivalve and gastropod molluscs to its current stocks this year, BFAR regional director Dennis Del Socorro said here over the weekend.

Del Socorro hailed the CSU administration for coming up with the project, which the BFAR has provided with funding and technical support.

He cited the CSU academic community as a key partner in research for fishery development in the island province that is very vital in helping the marginalized local fishing community.

Funded under the Philippine National Aquasilviculture Program of the BFAR and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the fish hatchery involves a main facility at the mangrove area in Barangay Palnab, Virac, Catanduanes and a fish breeding laboratory at the CSU main campus, also in Virac.

There are also brackish water ponds and mangrove forest stands at the university’s extension campus in Panganiban, Catanduanes.

Dr. Minerva Morales, the CSU president, said in a statement published by Catanduanes Tribune over the weekend that the university’s partnership with the BFAR would not only improve the catch of local fishermen but also provide an alternative source of income for the school in supporting its laboratory facilities now being used by its BS Biology students.

“We may offer again a course in Bachelor of Science in Fisheries,” the Tribune quoted Morales as saying, adding that her administration would propose more facilities in the hatchery in pursuit of its development as an eco-tourism site.

In a separate statement, Rep. Cesar Sarmiento of the province’s lone congressional district said he is providing CSU a funding of P.5 million this year for the rehabilitation of an existing building to serve as hatchery facility in the school’s recently launched Catanduanes Marine Multi-Species Fish Hatchery in Barangay Palnab del Sur, Virac.

Sarmiento said brighter days are ahead for the province with the establishment of the hatchery as he challenged the CSU administration to do justice to the island’s preferred tag as the crab capital of the Philippines. (PNA) PDS/FGS/DOC/CBD/SSC

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