The Espino administration, thru its Food Security Program, has been relentless in increasing fish production thru aquaculture in ponds and fish cages and fish stock enhancement through the dispersal of tilapia fingerlings in communal bodies of water across the province.
Last March 3 and 4, the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPAG) dispersed 40,000 tilapia fingerlings in various communal bodies of water in Mangatarem and another 30,000 in Alcala.
“Maganda itong proyekto ng provincial government dahil wala na talaga kaming nahuhuling isda. Tama ang ginawa nila na magpakawala ng isda para pagdating ng araw ay meron kaming mahuhuli,” Celso Duran, a fisherfolk from Barangay Torre Primero of Mangatarem, said.
On instruction of Gov. Espino, the Provincial Government has developed a tilapia hatchery with a total area of about 7,600 sq. meter in Barangay San Gonzalo, San Quintin and upgraded the 1,840 sq. meter existing tilapia hatchery in Barangay Libsong, Lingayen.
The development of the San Quintin Provincial Freshwater Fish Hatchery was completed on the second quarter of 2008 but its operation started later that year.
All the tilapia fingerlings that were dispersed were sourced out from these facilities.
According to Zenaida Ugaban, Supervising Aqua-culturist of OPAG, these hatcheries provided access to fisherfarmers of Pangasinan in procuring good quality tilapia fingerlings, unlike before when they have to get fingerlings from Tarlac or Nueva Ecija.
At present, the broodstock being used are Improved GET-EXCEL (Genetically Enhanced Tilapia-Excellent) and BEST (Brackish Water Enhanced Saline Tilapia).
These are the latest strain of tilapia breeders that have been developed and improved by fishery research institutions and found to produce offspring with better growth performance.
From July to December 2009, the two hatcheries produced 1,405,000 fingerlings, of which 1,402,189 were dispersed.
In particular, about 533,000 fingerlings were dispersed in 110 sites of communal waters and around 516,769 were provided to 276 fisherfarmers for aquaculture projects in freshwater fishponds and fish cages.
The fingerling dispersal project enhances fish population in communal bodies of water increasing fish catch of sustenance fisherfolks, thus, increasing their income and addressing malnutrition problem in their locality. (PIO/Rafael Manuel)