THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said that it hopes to increase pompano production, with the goal of offering the saltwater fish to consumers as an alternative to bangus, or milkfish.
In a statement on Monday, Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel, Jr. said that the DA will support the production, post-harvest processing, and marketing of the pompano in public markets.
“The DA, through (the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources) will promote pompano production as part of the government’s push to expand mariculture parks and modernize the aquaculture industry,” Mr. Laurel added.
He said the BFAR will assist in improving the breeding of the fish in specialized facilities.
“Increasing fish production through aquaculture is part of the DA’s efforts to modernize agriculture, boost food production, and ensure food security,” the DA said.
Pompano production in 2022 amounted to 457 metric tons (MT), against 16,004 MT worth of imports during the year.
The DA said it is collaborating with Santeh Feeds Corp. to expand pompano production.
“In the company’s floating sea cages, thousands of imported fry of short-finned pompano are being raised to help reduce fish imports, provide a healthier protein source for consumers, and possibly open export opportunities,” it said.
The company’s fish farm in Silaguin Bay, Zambales, has 44 floating cages, with the capacity for about 3-4 tons of pompano.
The DA said that it takes nine months to culture pompano. Fish up to 500 grams are sold in public markets, while fish weighing 800 grams and above are for export. — Adrian H. Halili