The Philippines wants to reduce the reliance on imported milkfish fry. “The Philippines requires about 3.5 billion milkfish fry each year, but local hatcheries can only supply roughly half the demand,” said SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department chief, Dan Baliao, who added that the rest are imported from Indonesia and Taiwan.
To close the gap, SEAFDEC has been stocking breeders and is working with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to establish multi-species hatcheries around the country, each with a capacity to produce 25 million fry annually. “It takes time for milkfish to mature, about three to five years when they reach at least 3 to 5 kilograms,” said Baliao.
The center currently has more than 300 milkfish broodstocks that are already housed in SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department’s headquarters in Tigbauan and Igang Marine Station in Nueva Valencia, Guimaras. SEAFDEC is a pioneer in the breeding of captive milkfish broodstock.