Bountiful fish harvests

Dumarao, Capiz

The fourth and last session of the Season-long training course on freshwater aquaculture, which tackled harvest and post-harvest handling, ended with, appropriately enough, the harvest of catfish, tilapia and freshwater prawn.

The activity, held last March 31-April 1 in Brgy. Tamulalod, Dumarao, Capiz, saw the members of Dumarao Fish Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (DFFMPC) listen to lectures and perform hands-on harvest of their stocks.

Ms. Rose Mueda of UP Visayas handled the lectures, which dealt with proper handling and icing of aquatic products, preparation of materials for value addition, marketing techniques and the requirements in the establishment of fish processing ventures.

To date, a total of around 197 kilos of tilapia, 41 kilos of catfish, and 3.2 kilos of ulang – sold at P100, P110, and P200 per kilo, respectively – have been harvested from four cages, with supervision from AQD's Ms. Kaylin Corre, head of Training Section and Mr. Rosenio Pagador, Senior Training Assistant.

In the closing ceremonies, Mr. Renato Agbayani, Head of the Training and Information Division, advised the beneficiaries to re-invest and roll-over the revenue until the project is big enough so that the members could partake of the fruits of their labor. He also added that a second round of production, to be led by Dr. Josefa Fermin, Scientist at AQD, is being planned to give the beneficiaries a better grasp of the technology.

Mr. Virgilio Hapitan, DFFMPC chair, said that the project had benefited them by reducing poverty and unemployment in their area; in addition, they were able to utilize the natural resources in their area. He noted, however, that the project was not without challenges: he had to deal with the "behavior" of certain members. In spite of this, Mr. Hapitan learned a thing or two from the experience: "No is not really a no, and this can be changed into a yes, and that negative can be changed into positive." He also learned the importance of setting a good example as a leader, which includes always looking out for the welfare of the members. He recounted that the cooperative has plans of holding other income-generating activities.

Dumarao Mayor Leslie Warren Benjamin, for his part expressed his gratitude for the conduct of the training, which gave the people technical knowledge and skills in growing fish and crustaceans. He was also on hand to distribute certificates of training to 31 trainees and certificates of attendance to 19 others.

Capiz Provincial Agriculturist Ms. Sylvia dela Cruz and her staff were also present during the event.

The training course was implemented under the Institutional Capacity Development for Sustainable Aquaculture or ICD-SA, which has the main goal of empowering aquatic resource users by providing them knowledge to become efficient managers and prudent users of their resources.

Tibiao, Antique

April 16 wasn't such a bad day for the administrators, faculty and students of the Polytechnic State College of Antique-Tario Lim Campus, Tibiao, Antique.

After all, they were able to harvest not less than 100 kilos of hybrid catfish, with around four catfish per kilo. Culture took 5-6 months, with survival rate of 85 percent.

In addition to observing the harvest, AQD's Dr. Josefa Fermin and Ms. Kaylin Corre also took the opportunity to discuss with Dr. Victor Navarra, PSCA president, PSCA-Tario Lim Campus Administrator Dr. Armando Cabrillos, and Dr. Romeo Caturao on future activities and training sessions.

Training courses on Freshwater Aquaculture, and Research Methodology will be conducted in May and June 2008, respectively, to be funded by PSCA.

Igang, Guimaras

Once upon a time (August 2007), beneficiaries of the Petron-funded milkfish cage culture project stocked milkfish fingerlings at AQD's Igang Marine Station.

Since then, four harvests have been conducted, with the last one done March 18. A total of about 9,207 kilos of milkfish have since been reaped. Average body weight was around half a kilo per fish.

Sure, there were hitches: the FCR could've been lower, which could have resulted to higher sales, but with a survival rate of 97%, who's complaining?

It was a rewarding fishy-tale ending after almost seven months of hard work and season-long training sessions for those involved, but the payoff was worth it.

While the beneficiaries could crow about the bountiful harvest, another thing's for certain: the fish did not live happily ever after.

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