The Department of Agriculture–Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) Region 3, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) of the DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau, and the local government unit of Pantabangan harvested over 400 kilograms of tilapia from the Pantabangan Aquaculture Park Project in Nueva Ecija on Thursday, February 8.

The harvest marks the culmination of the research phase of the project, which the Bureau plans to expand, utilizing more High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) fish cages in the reservoir for tilapia grow-out culture.

The park, which was established by BFAR Region 3 in 2022, currently houses 24 units of HDPE fish cages and aims to evaluate the growth performance of Nile Tilapia raised in the reservoir.
“Anticipated to amplify local fish production, the Pantabangan Aquaculture Park is poised to benefit not only the province but the entire Central Luzon region,” said Regional Director Wilfredo Cruz who led the harvest activity.
HDPE cages are flexible, strong, and durable compared to alternatives like bamboo and GI pipe. This material exhibits superior efficiency and longevity therefore making it a more viable option according to Joseph Bitara, Pantabangan Aquapark Project focal person. Moreover, Bitara noted the favorable size and quality of the tilapia, therefore making the latest harvest a success.
BFAR, together with its partner agencies and the local government of Pantabangan, commit to ensure that the Project is sustainably implemented. Aside from monitoring and conducting necessary resource assessments, the government agencies are also at the helm of operations and development of the municipal Tilapia hatchery, conduct of technical and management training for fisherfolk beneficiaries and cage operators, as well as the development of an aquaculture training agenda.
The Pantabangan Aquaculture Park is part of the BFAR’s fisheries programs to address food security by utilizing small water impounding projects (SWIPs) and other open water resources such as dams and reservoirs. Furthermore, Pantabangan reservoir has a great potential for aquaculture due to its
advantageous location and clean environment.
As one of the country’s protected areas by virtue of the Republic Act No. 7586, otherwise known as the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992, the Bureau continuously works hand-in-hand with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in preserving the dam, which would entail the conservation of ecological processes and life-support system and the sustainable management of its resources.