HATCHERIES and broodstock tanks involving the investment of P23 million have been completed this year in Iloilo to help fish producers seed their farms, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.

The facilities are located within the Tigbauan Main Station of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC). They have been in development since 2019.

The project is part of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources’ Bangus Fry Sufficiency Program to serve as a prototype for other hatchery ventures elsewhere.

Four new broodstock areas with a capacity of 2,000 tons can accommodate 400 milkfish breeders producing an estimated 320 million eggs annually.

The marine hatcheries have a rearing capacity of 160 tons, and are projected to produce 20 million milkfish fry, 5.4 million pompano fry, 14.4 million post-larvae shrimp, and 2.5 million instars — the term for crab in their developmental stages — each year.

The DA also plans to build a 40-ton freshwater hatchery that can produce 16 million catfish fry, 4.5 million freshwater post-larvae prawn, and close to one million tilapia fry annually.

SEAFDEC has 11 member countries in Southeast Asia. Its aquaculture department is currently hosted by the Philippines.

The aquaculture industry accounts for 50.9% of Philippine fisheries production. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson