Rolando R. Platon, SEAFDEC/AQD Chief
Responsible aquaculture for livelihood and development in Southeast Asia SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department
SEAFDEC is a regional treaty organization established in 1967 to promote sustainable fisheries development in Southeast Asia. The member countries of SEAFDEC are:
The application for membership of Lao PDR in SEAFDEC is presently being processed.
Four departments of SEAFDEC
Aquaculture Department (Philippines) for sustainable aquaculture development
Training Department (Thailand) for research and training on marine capture fisheries
Marine Fisheries Research Department (Singapore) for fisheries post-harvest and processing
Marine Fishery Resources Development and Management Department (Malaysia) for fishery resource conservation and management
New SEAFDEC Strategic Plan (adopted in March 1998)
- Placing emphasis on regional issues
- Promoting efficient and sustainable use of fisheries resources
- Facilitating intra-regional exchange of expertise and information
- Creating mechanisms for regional collaboration
- Avoiding duplication of efforts
During the First Meeting of the ASEAN-SEAFDEC Fisheries Consultative Group, Bangkok, Thailand, 4 March 1999, the need to strengthen ASEAN-SEAFDEC relations was emphasized. This collaborative framework between SEAFDEC as a technical organization and ASEAN as a political organization provides effective mechanism for technological developments as output from SEAFDEC activities to be incorporated into ASEAN countries' national development programmes. This also facilitates examination of policy implications on the regional level of certain issues requiring technical expertise.
ASEAN-SEAFDEC Millennium Conference
ASEAN-SEAFDEC Conference on Sustainable Fisheries for Food Security in the New Millennium: "Fish for the People", Bangkok, Thailand, 19-24 November 2001;
ASEAN Ministers adopted the Resolution on Sustainable Fisheries for Food Security for the ASEAN Region as the regional policy providing the framework for the promotion of sustainable fisheries for food security in the ASEAN region; and
Plan of Action on Sustainable Fisheries for Food Security for the ASEAN Region serves as guideline on prioritized actions to be undertaken in line with the Resolution.
ASEAN-SEAFDEC Special Five-Year Programme
This is in pursuance of the Plan of Action to achieve sustainable fisheries and increase supplies of fish and fishery products in the ASEAN region emphasizing support for the least-developed countries in the region to minimize disparities and to achieve coordinated efforts toward sustainable fisheries.
The SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department (AQD)
Mandates of AQD
Develop human resource in aquaculture
Promote and undertake R&D on aquaculture
Disseminate and exchange information on aquaculture
Seminar-Workshop on Aquaculture Development in Southeast Asia (ADSEA).
ADSEA is a forum where scientists and representatives from SEAFDEC members, the academe, aquaculture industry, government agencies and NGOs assess the contribution of AQD to the development of the aquaculture industry in the region and recommends priorities for R&D.
Provides the framework for regional cooperation in the conduct of R&D and in the transfer of technologies to ASEAN countries through their respective national development programs.
Tigbauan Main Station (TMS), Iloilo, Philippines
40-ha area along the Gulf of Panay with several laboratories, broodstock and hatchery facilities, library, training and information facilities as well as administration offices, guest and staff houses, apartment building, dormitory, cafeteria, sports facilities, social hall and private-run elementary school.
Dumangas Brackishwater Station (DBS), Iloilo, Philippines
16-ha experimental and demonstration pond culture facilities, field laboratory for routine chemical and microbiological analyses on-site and modest accommodation facilities.
Igang Marine Sub-station IMSS), Guimaras, Philippines
Established on an islet off Guimaras, cages are maintained for marine fish broodstock development and verification of marine fish cage culture.
Binangonan Freshwater Station (BFS), Tapao Point, Rizal, Philippines
35 km southeast of Manila, the Station has laboratory facilities for fish breeding and grow-out, fish nutrition studies, fish health and lake ecology, water chemistry, training facilities, a dormitory and limited number of staff houses.
Facilities for RD&E
Broodstock rearing and spawning of marine fishes can be conducted in concrete tanks at TMS or in floating cages at IMSS. Both stations are equipped for larval rearing of marine fishes and crustaceans. Mollusk breeding is done exclusively at TMS. The marine fish species maintained at TMS and IMSS include: milkfish (Chanos chanos), grouper (Epinephelus coioides), rabbitfish (Siganus vermiculatus), sea bass (Lates calcarifier), mangrove red snapper (Lutjanus argentimacualtus), spadefish (Scatophagus argus) and sea horses (Hippocampus kuda and H. barbouri).
Breeding of freshwater fishes are conducted mainly at BFS where work is being done on the Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus), bighead carp (Aristichthys nobilis) and the native Asian catfish (Clarias macrocephalus) using indoor and outdoor tanks or floating and fixed net cages.
The basic layout of DBS consists of 16 units of earthen ponds ranging between 5,000 and 9,000 m2. Some of the ponds have been subdivided into 1,000 m2 scale-up units or 200 m2 experimental units that can be used for replicated studies. The remaining large ponds are used for commercial-scale grow-out trials with penaeid shrimp, portunid crab and finfishes.
At any time, the ponds can be configured to conform to a required design or culture protocol. Some of the ponds have been retrofitted for zero-discharge operation by recirculating water through treatment ponds where seaweeds and/or oysters are stocked.
Cage culture studies are conducted at IMSS or at BFS depending on the species cultured. The cages available at IMSS are of two types: circular or square. Most have steel frames and are kept afloat by buoys. Bamboo-framed cages are set-up from time to time depending upon need. Floating catwalk connects the cages to the station house making it unnecessary to use a boat to inspect the cages or feed the stock. A Mariculture Park model is also being maintained at IMSS for verification and pilot demonstration.
Laboratory works are conducted in five locations at TMS: (1) Centralized Analytical Laboratory for standard water analyses, nutrient analyses as well as analysis for fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins, pesticide residues and enzymes, etc.; (2) Feed Laboratory for production of feeds for studies conducted at AQD; (3) Fish Health Laboratory for diagnosis of various fish diseases including DNA-based diagnosis of viral, bacterial and fungal diseases of shrimp; (4) Microtechnique Laboratory for processing of slides of specimens for use of ongoing studies at AQD; and (5) Natural Food Laboratory for maintenance of pure cultures of microalgae species. Potential natural food organisms both from freshwater and marine waters continue to be screened in order to widen the availability of feed species.
The sixth is the Laboratory for Advanced Aquaculture Technologies or Biotechnology Laboratory, a grant aid from the Government of Japan to the Philippines, which is still undergoing construction at AQD. The Biotechnology Laboratory has five components: (1) Endocrinology and Genetics Laboratory; (2) Feed Technology Laboratory; (3) Algal Production Technology Laboratory; (4) Microbiology Laboratory; and (5) Enclosed Wet Laboratory.
Since 1976 AQD researchers continuously publish results of their research studies conducted at AQD in international refereed journals. Through such research publications, many AQD researchers have been recognized as world-class scientists.
Total research publications from 1976 to December 2001 - 968
Total ISI-covered publications as of December 2001 - 527
Published and accepted for publication in ISI-covered publications during the period January-September 2002 - 53
Accepted for publication as of September 2002 - 26
Papers presented in conferences (January-September 2002) - 24
RD&E programs of AQD
The technical recommendations of ADSEA on priority species and technology gaps are used as basis for the formulation of the research programs of AQD. These recommendations were prioritized based on areas of concern in responsible aquaculture development, namely, technology feasibility, economic viability, environmental integrity and social equity.
Responsible technologies for increased aquaculture production
Broodstock management and seed quality improvement of cultured species
This program addresses problem areas related to broodstock management, genetic improvement and development of improved hatchery production technologies, such as: (1) poor and inconsistent supply of spawned eggs; (2) non-synchronous, unpredictable and highly seasonal spawning of some species; (3) lack of information on the genetic diversity of cultured species; (4) lack of broodstock management and genetic selection methods for most of important cultured species; (5) poor survival in the hatchery of fry and fingerlings of some species; (6) slow growth of juveniles; and (7) economics of hatchery production.
Development of responsible and sustainable aquaculture technologies
This program aims to develop sustainable aquaculture technologies with minimum impact on ecosystems. Specifically, the program will continue to develop and promote efficient aquaculture systems and designs for maximum sustainable productivity. In addition, nutritionally efficient feeds using alternatives to fishmeal and fish biomass will also be developed in order to promote the sustainability of aquaculture.
Strain improvement of commercially-important seaweeds
This program aims to: (1) develop improved strains of Eucheuma and Gracilaria spp. through biotechnology; (2) assess improved cultivars for growth, culture characteristics and quality of carageenan and agar; and (3) conduct field and on-farm verification of improved seaweed strains.
Screening of new species for aquaculture
This program aims to search candidate species of finfishes, shellfishes and aquatic plants suitable for culture. A major component of the program includes the identification and screening of novel species for aquaculture to augment and further diversify the present number of aquaculture commodities in the region, emphasizing on indigenous species.
Development of strategies for stock enhancement
This program aims to promote stock enhancement activities in the region to increase fish supplies from inland and coastal waters. This program includes development of technologies for seed production and stock enhancement of mollusks and invertebrates, initially through the release of hatchery-produced juveniles into the natural environments.
Development of appropriate technologies for use of lakes
This program generally aims for the rational use of lakes by determining the carrying capacity of major lakes currently being used or planned for aquaculture activities; carrying out studies on pollutants in lakes and their biota as well as the possible consequences on human health; and investigating the toxic algal blooms in lakes and their possible effects on fish populations. While initial activities are undertaken in the Philippines in collaboration with a number of government agencies and NGOs, these will later expand to cover other countries in the region.
Regional fish disease project
This project is aimed at the development of fish disease inspection methodologies for artificially bred seeds, which is funded by the Japanese Trust Fund and implemented through the ASEAN-SEAFDEC Fisheries Consultative Group (FCG) collaborative mechanism.
The project aims to promote disease-free aquaculture in the region and healthy and wholesome aquaculture products including seeds for aquaculture; develop standardized diagnostic methods for important diseases of aquacultured organisms and disseminate these through trainers' training courses involving fish health personnel in the region; and establish a surveillance system.
In the proposed scheme for the Regional Network for Fish Disease Control in the Region, the project will coordinate with the FAO and OIE as well as with WHO at the global level; and with NACA, ASEAN, APEC, ACIAR, JIRCAS, AAHRI, ICLARM, AusAID, etc. at the regional level with NACA serving as the Information Centre and SEAFDEC as the Technical Center; and with the national centres at the respective fisheries departments of the ASEAN member countries.
Sustainable production of aquatic animals in brackish mangrove areas
Under the collaborative mechanism of SEAFDEC and the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS), this project aims to: develop low input aquaculture systems in mangrove areas; undertake valuation of mangrove resources and services, property regimes in mangrove ecosystems, implication for the adoption of mangrove-friendly aquaculture; and undertake an analysis of farm management and economic benefits of new sustainable fish production system in brackish mangrove areas.
This program aims to test the viability of research-based aquaculture technologies in collaboration with the government and the private sector, non-government organizations, fisheries schools, financing institutions and other agencies. The technologies transferred must not only be technically and financially viable but also ecologically sustainable and socially equitable. Technologies verified are documented by AQD into manuals and other information format, then disseminated in the region.
The training program of AQD aims to accelerate the transfer of responsible aquaculture technologies through regular and collaborative training programs, suitable to different levels of knowledge and skills in order to produce self-reliant and responsible manpower for the promotion and development of sustainable aquaculture practices. The training courses conducted by AQD are organized into:
Formal sessions at AQD
1. Freshwater Aquaculture
2. Marine Fish Hatchery and Nursery Operations
3. Crab Seed Production (funded by ACIAR)
4. Management of Sustainable Aquafarming Systems
5. Mariculture Skills Development
6. Third-Country Training Program on Responsible Aquaculture Development (with JICA)
On-site training in specific countries to consider location-specific features of the host country
Distance Learning or E-Training (in collaboration with the University of the Philippines Open University)
1. Aqua Health On-line
2. Aqua Nutrition On-line
Sustainable Aquaculture and Coastal Resource Management
This training course is designed to give focus on the local government units (LGUs) in order to provide them with technical background as basis for formulating policies and regulations as regards aquaculture within the context of coastal resource management. Over the years, the Government of Japan's Fellowship Fund mostly funds training sessions conducted at AQD's stations for SEAFDEC.
Verification and commercialization
Commercialization and promotion of developed technologies
This program aims to fast track the commercialization of developed aquaculture technologies through verification and pilot demonstration. This is undertaken in collaboration with appropriate government agencies in respective member countries, local government units, NGOs, financing institutions and the private sector. Thus, AQD implements the Mangrove-Friendly Shrimp Culture Project, funded by the Japanese Trust Fund and placed under the FCG collaborative mechanism, in collaboration with the governments of Thailand, Viet Nam and Myanmar. In the Philippines, AQD's collaboration with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) involves demonstration of mangrove-friendly shrimp culture practices in strategic training centres of BFAR. AQD also implements the Aquaculture-Based Community Development Program with an NGO (Meralco Foundation, Inc.) in order to promote freshwater aquaculture for rural development.
Integrated Regional Aquaculture Program
This program is the aquaculture component of the ASEAN-SEAFDEC Special Five-Year Program based on the output of the ASEAN-SEAFDEC Conference on Sustainable Fisheries for Food Security in the New Millennium: "Fish for the People," Bangkok, Thailand, 19-24 November 2001.
This program takes into consideration that some countries in the region are more advanced than others in terms of technology, expertise and experiences. Sharing these with less developed countries provide arena for regional collaboration, which requires assistance from external sources and funding to get moving. The aquaculture component of the program comprises two projects: Aquaculture for Rural Development; and Supply of Good Quality Seeds, which will be implemented in the ASEAN countries. Participating countries have identified activities based on national priority need, in the form of capability building such as on-site training or in form of pilot demonstration of certain production system.
In the adopted Project Framework, the implementation of the projects will be coordinated by AQD. Among the major responsibilities of AQD, is to explore possible collaboration with donors for the implementation of the projects.
For each participating country, their National Coordinator shall oversee the conduct of activities within the country, with the assistance of their respective Technical Coordinators. The National Coordinators are responsible in securing national financial contribution for the implementation of the activities under the cost-sharing scheme being promoted in the Special Five-Year Program. While the initial budget for this program is provided through the ASEAN Foundation, supplementary funding from external sources are being sought to enable full implementation of planned activities.
Since the specific activities to be conducted in respective countries have been identified and confirmed as national priority programs, the participating countries could gain full benefit from the program in terms of technology development, ownership of output, exchange of information, etc., that would eventually lead to the upliftment of the socio-economic well-being of the fisherfolk in the ASEAN countries.
Information packaging and dissemination
AQD continues to produce aquaculture manuals, newsletters, flyers, posters, video production, etc. using the output from its RD&E activities and packaging specific aquaculture systems. Moreover, AQD also recently came up with two collegiate-level textbooks that have been pre-tested in a number of Philippine universities. The following are the recent publications of AQD:
Aquaculture Manuals: The most recent manuals include: Diseases of Penaeid Shrimps in the Philippines (2000), Grouper Culture in Floating Net Cages (2000), Net Cage Culture of Tilapia in Dams and Reservoirs (2000), Farming of Seaweed Kappaphycus (2000), Induced Breeding of Bighead Carp Aristichthys nobilis (2001).
Textbooks: Nutrition in Tropical Aquaculture (2002) and Health Management in Aquaculture (2001), which are also used as reference materials in the Distance Learning Courses.
Proceedings: The most recent publications include: Mangrove-Friendly Aquaculture (2000), Use of Chemicals in Aquaculture in Asia (2001) and Conservation and Ecological Management of Philippine Lakes (2001).
Video Production and CD-ROM: The most recent CD-ROM productions include: AquaChem (2002) and Regional Guidelines for Responsible Aquaculture (2002).
State-of-the-Art Compilations: Environment-friendly Schemes in Intensive Shrimp Farming (2000) and Closed-Recirculating Shrimp Farming System (2000).
Flyers and posters: The most recent productions include: Mangroves and Community Aquaculture (2000), Abalone Seed Production and Culture (2000), Reviving Kapis Fishery Along Panay Gulf (2000), Protecting Livelihood through Stock Enhancement (2002).
SEAFDEC Asian Aquaculture: This quarterly newsletter includes recent developments in aquaculture in the region as well as highlights of aquaculture technical advances achieved from the RD&E activities of AQD.
Operationalization of www.seafdec.org.ph (AQD web site) and www.mangroveweb.net (mangrove web page).
Specific collaborative programs
Collaborative projects with FAO, NACA and ICLARM
Regionalization of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries: Aquaculture Development
With the participation of FAO and NACA as well as other agencies, the project came up with the Regional Guidelines for Responsible Aquaculture. It was published in 2001 and is now being translated into national languages in the region.
Grouper Research Network
Established by APEC and ACIAR and coordinated by NACA, AQD undertakes research on larval morphology and nutrition focusing on the species Epinephelus coioides.
Manual on Husbandry and Health Management of Grouper
AQD was designated by APEC to serve as coordinator for the publication of the Manual on Husbandry and Health Management of Grouper in 2001, which has been translated into major languages in the Asia-Pacific region.
Co-organization and/or representation in conferences, seminar-workshops, training, etc. Many conferences, seminar-workshops, training, etc., have been co-organized by SEAFDEC, FAO and NACA. The major ones are:
- ASEAN-SEAFDEC Conference on Sustainable Fisheries for Food Security in the New Millennium: "Fish for the People," Bangkok, Thailand, 19-24 November 2001, with FAO and NACA
- Hands-on Training for Important Viral Diseases of Shrimp and Marine Fish, Iloilo City, Philippines, 4-15 November 2002, mainly with NACA and OIE
Institutional Arrangement and Fisheries Co-Management with the WorldFish Center
AQD implements the project "Scale question on co-management: Malalison Island and LIPASECU Bay Management Council, Inc."
Representation of AQD in FAO, NACA and ICLARM conferences, study and advisory groups, seminars, etc. and through provision of resource persons and exchange of information.
Proposed collaboration between SEAFDEC through AQD and MRC
Specific activities under the aquaculture projects of the ASEAN-SEAFDEC Special Five-Year Program on the Contribution of Sustainable Fisheries for Food Security in the ASEAN Region, especially for specific activities to be implemented in the Mekong River countries.
The specific activities identified and considered national priority needs by the ASEAN countries, are shown in the Program Document of the Integrated Regional Aquaculture Program, the Aquaculture Component of the ASEAN-SEAFDEC Special Five-Year Program.