Sen. Bongbong Marcos: On the Need for a National Mariculture Program

The country has a total territorial water area of 2,200,000 square kilometer, with the coastline measuring 17,460 kilometers, while the coastal area stretches to 266,000 square kilometers.

As of 2008, fisheries contribution to the total Gross Domestic Product of the country amounted to 2.3% (at current prices).

Based on the data from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), the total fish and fish product intake amounted to 11.7%, based on a-mean one-day per capita food consumption.

Truly, fish product is one of the main food sources of the Filipino families.

Research shows however that there is an alarmingly diminishing supply of aquatic resources in the country today.

Thus, there is an urgent need to replenish the decreasing volume of fish in Philippine waters. Mariculture is the best alternative option in attaining this objective.

Fish farming or mariculture park is a fishing concept introduced in the country in 2004. It operates like industrial parks where investors set up fish cages to breed high value marine species like bangus, siganids and seeweeds.

According to the BFAR, there are currently 40 mariculture parks established in the country. Of this number, the Visayas has the highest number at 16, followed by Mindanao, 13, and 11 in Luzon.

Republic Act No. 8550, otherwise known as “The Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998”, has provided the foundation of mariculture operations in the country. However, there is no existing national program on mariculture.

Hence, we filed Senate Bill No. 2526 proposing the enactment of a National Mariculture Program, with the end goals of providing security of food for our countrymen, steady livelihood to the fisherfolk, and sustaining an ecologically-balanced aquatic environment.

Let us bring back the treasure of the seas. Aquaculture development will greatly contribute to cultivate fishery production.

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