May 6-12, 1998 Volume XVII No. 19


Editorials & Opinions

Aquaculture in Central Luzon recovers from Lahar devastation

THE effect of Mt. Pinatubo eruption was greatly felt in Central Luzon, particularly in Zambales, Pampanga and Bataan. These provinces suffered a drop in milkfish, Nile tilapia and shrimp production because some 6,942 hectares of fishponds, fishfarm structures and stocks were damaged and lost.
Before the 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption, Central Luzon was able to produce 52,856 metric tons of milkfish, 37,380 tons of Nile tilapia, and 12,857 metric tons of shrimps. After the eruption, milkfish and shrimp production dropped by 10% and 14% respectively, a sharp contrast to the production of Nile tilapia which increases by 13% as compared with the 1990 production. The increase indicated that tilapia farming was found not to be affected by the ashfalls and lahar.
Two years after the eruption, aquaculture in Bataan and Pampanga has recovered particularly for shrimp and tilapia production. Rolando mangera, a fishfarmer in Barangay Gugo, Bacolor, Pampanga operates ponds with sizes of 600-2,000 square meters and depths of 1.5-2 meters excavated by a bulldozer. A nearby spring-fed lagoon provides pumped water supply to his fishfarm.
Two million Nile tilapia fingerlings are harvested from Mangera’s farm annually and sold to buyers from Laguna and batangas. Groout of tilapia is also being done in the farm stocking 1-2 garm fingerlings At five pieces per square meter. Commercial pellets are fed to the fish and cultured for three months. At sizes of 120-150 grams a piece, the fish and cultured for three months. At sizes of 120-150 grams a piece, the fish can be sold at P35-45 per kilo. Survival rate is high at 80% with an estimated yield of over five tons per crop in the rainy season.
Problems met in culturing tilapia during the dry season include low supply and poor quality of water, and fish diseases. Also, during this season, water depth can be maintained at only about 30-60 centimeters because of heavy seepage and evaporation. From December to February, fish diseases are evident due to low water temperature. Hence, the harvest during this season drops to an average of only two tons.
In the brackishwater ponds of Bataan, culturing milkfish and shrimp are extensive. In one hectare, 3,000-4,000 milkfish are stocked in ponds and grown for 150 days with little or no fertilization. Harvest size is at 250 grams per piece. For shrimp, 30,000 pieces are stocked per hectare, cultured for 90 days, and harvested at an average size of 25 grams pe piece. Harvest for milkfish is 2 tons per hectare and for shrimp, 500-600 kilos are harvested per hectare per crop. (NFISS)

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