, 2004  (STAR) By Eva Visperas - The trade secret of the world-famous delicious Bonuan bangus (milkfish) will be shared with other areas via the program "Dissemination and Adoption of Milkfish Aquaculture Technology in the Philippines".

Launched recently at the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) center in Bonuan Binloc, the project will be jointly funded by the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR) and World Fish Center.

DA-BAR will provide about P8,015,500 while World Fish Center will provide P3 million for technical back-stopping and facilitate international collaborations with Indonesia and Taiwan.

The implementing agency is BFAR while the collaborating agencies are Institute of Aquaculture, University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV), Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Resources Development (PCAMRD) and Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center-Aquaculture Department.

Westly Rosario, BFAR center chief, said. "We assume that technologies of bangus are available but the problem is how to encourage people in the community to adopt a technology and how much money do you have to spend for a community to really improve in two or three-year time."

For Pangasinan, the project is programmed for three years in the the towns of Dasol and Infanta and Aringay.

This is a first-of-its kind project in the country.

"Before, our technology is just here with us. Now it will be applied all over the Philippines," Rosario said.

He said it is easy to develop technology but the problem is how to make people accept such technology.

"What are the problems why we are left behind by Taiwan and Indonesia?," asked Rosario. These, he said will be properly studied and addressed through this undertaking.

With the dissemination and adoption of bangus technology, the BFAR here will share their secrets to making the tastiest bangus in the world from hatchery, fry to fingerlings, fingerlings to growing the fish to fishponds, fishpens or fishcage then up to post harvest technologies, Rosario added.

Milkfish (Chanos chanos Forskal) is one of the major fish species in Southeast Asian aquaculture with a total production of 392,520 metric tons per annum(valued at $697 million), nearly all of which come from Indonesia, Philippines and Taiwan. In the Philippines, milkfish production consists of nearly 50 per cent (161,426 metric tons) of the total national production of fish and shellfish aquaculture.

World Fish Center that conducts research on all aspects of fisheries and a member of the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research will be responsible for the overall management of the Project.

BFAR through the support of World Fish will be responsible for developing socio-economic and technology profiles of the milkfish industry, including the identification of potential and pipeline technologies, marketing chain and value-added. The Chief of the National Integrated Fisheries Research Development Center in Dagupan will be responsible for implementing pilot-scale technology transfer in the project target areas.

PCMARD will support the project through providing linkages with its on-going programs on aquaculture development in the Philippines.

UPV will identify the policies, institutional and socio-economic factors that have helped or hindered the adoption and uptake of various technologies and growth of the milkfish industry in the Philippines.

Rosario said, they in the BFAR center here started collecting bangus eggs from the Hundred Islands in Alaminos 1999, then put up a small hatchery which has now grown tremendously. They are now establishing satellite hatcheries all over the Philippines and their technology is the one being used by international organizations in their research development programs.

The project launching was graced by House Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr., Dr. Mahfuzzudin Ahmed, project leader of the World Fish Center and BFAR director. Malcolm Sar-miento Jr.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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