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Feed made from microalgae to raise aquaculture production.

A feed for aquaculture, microalgae, is eyed as both a highly nutritional and environment-friendly feed that can enhance aquaculture production, a sector that accounts for some P20 billion in Philippines' gross value added (GVA).

Microalgal pastes are now being piloted for production at the University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV) to support the aquaculture sector's huge feed requirement.

Feeds may account for as much as 50 percent of fishery production cost.

"Microalgae, the small aquatic plant species that we commonly know, is about to make a big break in the aquaculture industry," according to the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Fisheries, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD).

While UPV is still in the process of studying nutritional quality and shelf life of microalgae feed, microalgae has in fact already been considered a commercial product.

It is in the market for its use in waste water treatment and as high value nutritional product.

Microalgae are being cultured in order to produce algal paste for feeds. Algal pastes, also microalgae concentrates, are then further fed to planktons (drifting marine and freshwater organisms) that are used as feeds for fish larvae.

The aquaculture sector, from 1997 to 2003, grew at an average of eight percent yearly with production reaching to 4.16 million metric tons, according to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.

Specific products are seaweeds, accounting for 70.17 percent as of 2005; milkfish, 15.93 percent; tilapia, 8.5 percent; and tiger shrimp, 2.09 percent. Minor products are shells and finfishes. Aquaculture involves raising of fishes through fish pens, cages, ponds in both fresh and marine waters.

Mariculture of oysters, mussels, and seaweeds are also under aquaculture which accounted as of 2005 for 46 percent of total Philippine fishery production. Other fishery subsectors are municipal (coastal waters) and commercial fishing (deep sea).

"Philippine aquaculture has strong potential for expansion due to availability of vast resources: 338,393 hectares of swampland, 14,531 hectares of freshwater fishponds, 239,323 hectares of brackishwater fishponds, 200,000 hectares of lakes, 31,000 hectares of rivers and 19,000 hectares of reservoirs," according to BFAR's Nelson A. Lopez.

International Funds for Agricultural Development records showed that fisheries contributed to a gross value added (GVA) of P44 billion as of 2004.


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Title Annotation:Business News
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Jan 6, 2014
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