Tilapia is the second largest aquaculture-produced fish species in the Philippines.

Tilapia is the second largest aquaculture-produced fish species in the Philippines.

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Philippines to promote tilapia aquaculture in brackish and estuarine waters

A total of 3 different strains have been designed to prevent mass mortalities due to saltwater intrusions.

The University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV), with the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) support, has developed the UPV-Saline-Tolerant Population of Improved Nilotica (SPIN) tilapia strain.

This strain was designed to prevent the mass death of tilapia in brackish water and estuarine due to saltwater intrusions caused by the rise of seawater levels. According to the government of the Philippines, this initiative aims to "significantly broaden and improve tilapia quality and production."

The UPV SPIN strain technology is more accessible to small-scale, coastal fisherfolk thanks to its simplicity and cost-effectiveness in fry production. Therefore, small producers will need less investment and highly skilled technicians to run the procedure. Also, economic benefits will get easier for estuarine and coastal communities.

Furthermore, other two saline-tolerant tilapia strains have been developed in the Philippines, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-Brackishwater Enhanced Selected Tilapia (BFAR-BEST), and the BFAR-Molobicus strain.

Background

According to DOST-PCAARRD, tilapia is the second largest aquaculture-produced fish species in the Philippines with a total production of 281,114 metric tons valued at P24.26 billion in 2021.

However, tilapia harvests seem to have attained their maximum capacity and consequently are experimenting a slow growth. In addition, the Philippines has a limited carrying capacity of freshwater due to its several uses.

To address the decreasing water supply and the worsening of its quality it will make sense to increase tilapia aquaculture in brackishwater ponds and estuarine water cages and environments.

Test and results

The UPV has launched the 'Field testing a performance evaluation of saline tolerant Philippine Tilapia strain cultured in different geographical brackish-water ecosystems' project to test its UPV SPIN strain technology.

The project, funded by DOST-PCAARRD, seeks to find the adequate Philippine saline-tolerant tilapia strains for specific brackish water and high-salinity coastal and riverine ecosystems.

First results have shown that UPV SPIN and BFAR BEST tilapia strains experiment accelerated growth and elevated survival rates. DOST-PCAARRD detailed that these strains attained the harvestable size of 250 grams in about 100 days of culture.

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