Stakeholders meet to mitigate
negative impacts of aquaculture
DILIMAN, Quezon City - A national gathering
of fish farmers, fisheries researchers and policy makers from
both the government and the private sector is slated to be held
here in Quezon City to formulate strategies in mitigating the
negative impact of aquaculture and assure its sustainability.
The meeting is sponsored by the Bureau of
Fisheries and Aquatic Resources of the Department of Agriculture
and PHILMINAQ, short for Mitigating Impact from Aquaculture
in the Philippines and will be held on January 31, 2008 at the
Imperial Palace Suites in Timog Avenue , Quezon City . Some
200 fisheries stakeholders are expected to participate coming
mostly from local government units and non government organizations
involved in aquaculture and environmental concerns, research
institutions, the academe, Fisheries Aquatic and Resource Management
Councils and national government agencies concerned with aquaculture
and the environment
PHILMINAQ is a European Union funded project
whose main objective is to enhance the capabilities of the Philippine
government in monitoring, control and enforcement of aquaculture
in a sustainable manner within the guidelines of the FAO Code
of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. The Code intends to assists
member countries to promote a safe and responsible fisheries and
Task to implement the PHILMINAQ project are
the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), UP-Marine
Science Institute, Scottish Association of Marine Science and
the AkvaPlan-Niva of Norway .
BFAR Director Malcolm I. Sarmiento, Jr. said
that his vision for Philippine aquaculture is one that provides
more food, more employment and more foreign exchange rather than
an aquaculture that result to habitat destruction, pollution and
farming-induced calamities such as fish kills. In no way that
the environmental integrity should be compromised, he said
“Beginning this year, the implementation of
organic aquaculture will be intensified by the bureau nationwide.
BFAR will introduce environment-friendly fish species like giant
gourami, grass carp, bangus and new tilapia strains that will
feed mostly on organic feeds such vegetable trimmings, aquatic
plants like duckweed and filamentous algae. Also, organic-base
fertilizers and pesticides for use in pond preparation will also
be encouraged,” Sarmiento said.
“Aquaculture will continue to be the main
source of food fish for the Philippines and the main growth driver
for the agriculture sector”, Sarmiento promised.
Joint administrative order
A major highlight of the meeting is the presentation
and signing of the Joint DA – DENR – DILG Administrative Order
No 1 that gives definition and identification of the areas of
cooperation and collaboration among the Department of Agriculture
(DA), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in
the planning, management and control of aquaculture development
of the country to mitigate adverse impacts on the environment.
Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap, DILG
Secretary Ronaldo Puno and DENR Secretary Lito Atienza will sign
the joint administrative order.
Another highlight is the launching of the
Aquaculture Guidebook for the LGUs, formulated under the PHILMINAQ
project to help LGUs address the negative environmental impacts
associated with aquaculture.
The LGUs are depicted throughout the guidebook
as the main player in the management and maintenance of ecological
balance within their territorial jurisdiction, with national agencies
providing the necessary support through policy formulation and
standard setting, technical assistance and information dissemination.