Having demonstrated how science-based approaches can mitigate the impacts of COVID-19, the webinar series highlighting the innovative technologies in improving aquaculture practices were set to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) recover from the devastating scourge of the pandemic health crisis.

The Department of Science and Technology Region VI (DOST VI) in partnership with the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center – Aquaculture Department (SEAFDEC-AQD) conducted the virtual forum presenting the topics on culture of milkfish, shrimp, and mangrove crab, reviving the seed production of the native catfish, and the nursery and grow-out culture of pompano.  SEAFDEC AQD catfish expert, Mr. Rosenio Pagador presented the study on Reviving the Native Catfish.  The farming of native catfish gained more interest from among the 206 participants.  Mr. Pagador shared the information regarding the construction of the freshwater hatchery which includes the culture of native catfish as there is still no available native catfish fry.  Other resource persons who shared their knowledge include Dr. Fe Dolores Estepa on Mangrove Crab Culture, Mr. Victor Emmanuel Estilo on Milkfish, and Shrimp Culture, Ms. Ma. Irene Legaspi on Pompano Nursery and Grow-out Culture, and Mr. Rosenio Pagador on Reviving the Native Catfish.

The country must strive hard in regaining its rank as one of the top producers of aquaculture-based products.  According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the Philippines has a long history involving many species such as seaweed, milkfish, tilapia, shrimp, carp, oyster, and mussel.  Back in 1985, the Philippines is in 4th place in terms of aquaculture production and now the country is in 13th place.  Unfortunately, with the economic recession brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be more difficult for the country to perform better in the aquaculture industry.  Businesses struggle to survive from economic loss.

In the opening message of SEAFDEC-AQD Chief, Mr. Dan D. Baliao asserted that SEAFDEC will continue to be the leading institution in generating and promoting science-based aquaculture technologies to assist its stakeholders in the Southeast Asian region.  “Hence in the middle of the pandemic, we shall continue working in a 100% workforce, five days a week to fulfill our mandate of technology transfer and capacity-building.  We hope that after the smoke of the pandemic clears our fish farmers and other stakeholders will be more than ever equipped to move the country forward”’ the SEAFDEC Chief said.

The webinar series conducted by DOST VI through OneExpert has the mission to provide Filipino MSMEs with the science-based business ideas and solutions.  The members of the scientific community will continue to work together in providing solutions to the challenges being faced by the country.  Maximizing the use of digital technologies, the DOST VI never ceases to bring S&T services to the public amid the pandemic.  More webinars on innovative technologies will be conducted through OneExpert and in celebration of the Rice and Corn Week in the last week of August, DOST VI will be conducting a webinar that will introduce rice and corn technologies funded by the DOST-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARD).

The replay of the webinar on Innovative Technologies in Improving Aquaculture Practices can be accessed online through:  https://news.oneexpert.gov.ph/webinar/innovative-technologies-in-improving-aquaculture-practices. (SSalazar/DOST VI KMU with reports from KSBernardino and JRAGabiota)