02 March 2024

The Central Bangus Hatchery of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Region 7, located in Panganan, Calape, Bohol, is currently operating at full capacity, boasting a stockpile of 1.7 million eggs harvested from its floating fish cages as of February 2024.
Unlike last year, where the spawning commenced in late March, this year witnessed an early onset, possibly attributed to the region’s recent warm water temperatures. Serving eight municipalities, namely Calape, Tubigon, Talibon, Ubay, and Candijay in Bohol, and Argao, Medellin, and Bantayan Island in Cebu, the hatchery acts as a vital contributor to the fishery industry in the region.
According to Mr. Conrado Toston, officer-in-charge of the facility, the Central Bangus Hatchery has emerged as the leading producer of bangus eggs, larvae, and fry among the BFAR-operated hatcheries nationwide. Recognized for its outstanding performance, it clinched the Top Producing Fry award of the National Bangus Program in 2023. Last year alone, the hatchery produced over 121.8 million eggs and 8.6 million fry, significantly bolstering Region 7’s fish sufficiency.
Due to the hatchery’s surplus, it has also extended support beyond regional boundaries in recent years. In 2020, it supplied Region 8 with 1.1 million bangus eggs and 1 million bangus larvae, aiding in post disaster recovery efforts following Typhoon Ambo.
Established in 2003, the hatchery features 10 floating fish cages, each nurturing a broostock of 100 healthy bangus breeders. Spawning season spans from March to October, with off-season dedicated to conditioning them through rest and a high-protein diet.
Beneficiaries of the hatchery, ranging from individual fisherfolk, fisherfolk associations, fishpond operators, to enthusiasts, receive support in the form of eggs, larvae, and fry, which are priced at a fraction of the cost compared to those sourced from private companies, as well as a start-up capital of Php 750,000 to kickstart their own ventures.
“Malaki na ang naging return of investment simula noong nagbigay kami ng capital. Palagi rin silang tumatawag sa amin nang may pananabik at sinisigurado namin na mayroong regular na komunikasyon, pagtutulungan, at palitan ng impormasyon, tulad ng pagbibigay ng updates sa mga bagong teknolohiya at mga advancement sa aquaculture”, said Toston regarding the feedback of the beneficiaries. (The return of investment has been great since we provided capital. They also always call us eagerly and we ensure that there is regular communication, collaboration, and information exchange, such as providing updates on new technologies and advancements in aquaculture.)
“Malaking tulong din ito sa livelihood ng mga komunidad dahil sa mga trabaho na nage-generate ng satellite hatcheries,” he added. (It is also a great help to the livelihood of the communities because of the jobs generated by the satellite hatcheries.)
Ms. Sheila Basas, a 70-year-old former aquaculturist of the facility also residing in Calape, is among the beneficiaries of the Central Bangus Hatchery. Due to the hatchery’s support, she now spearheads her own production tanks located outside her home.
“Bukod sa nakatulong ito na pandagdag sa kita ko, nakakatulong din ako sa livelihood ng ibang
fishpond operators dahil nagbibigay ako sa kanila ng fry sa mas mababang halaga,” said Basas during a field visit to her production tanks. (Besides this supplemental income, I also aid in the livelihood of other fishpond operators because I provide them with fry at a lower cost.)
Despite its achievements, the hatchery faced difficulties in the aftermath of Typhoon Odette in 2021, experiencing a drop in production and structural damage. However, resilience remains ingrained within the hatchery, as evidenced by ongoing efforts to rebuild and reinforce infrastructure.

The Central Bangus Hatchery’s success lies in its cohesive teamwork, knowledge application, and determination to uplift livelihoods, according to Toston and Mr. Jessie Laurden, the facility’s aquaculture technician. They share their future plans for the continued success of the facility, mainly expansion, upgrades in the infrastructure, replacement of fish cages with High Density Polyethylene which exhibits superior efficiency and longevity, and increased beneficiary outreach.