ILOILO CITY, March 16 (PIA 6) -- The Department of Science and Technology has moved to help prop up the prawn industry in the country, as DOST 6 Information Officer Sol Salazar said that the DOST has partnered with the University of the Philippines in the Visayas and the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Council (SEAFDEC) for an integrated research and development (R&D) program for the sustainable development of the prawn industry.
Salazar said through the facilities of these institutions various technologies are now being tested to address the wide-ranging problems in the industry.
“The country is used to be a major exporter of prawn and Western Visayas has been known to be a major producer of the commodity, however, various problems have plagued the industry such as bacterial and viral diseases,” said Salazar.
Among the technologies being currently developed are the biofloc technology (BFT) and the use of immunostimulants.
The BFT is an environment-friendly technology that removes organic residues and other wastes through the action of friendly bacteria which consume them as food. It is anticipated that this technology will allow intensive culture of prawns and other species because of better water quality management which will eventually result to higher yield and productivity levels for the industry.
On the other hand, the use of immunostimulants intends to improve the resistance of prawns against diseases, most particularly against the white spot syndrome virus considered one of the biggest threats in the industry and is known to wipe out, at times, the entire population of prawns in aquaculture ponds.
“Initial results on the use of immunostimulants have been very promising inasmuch as shrimps with immunostimulants show a significant survival rate as well as much better growth rate compared to the control group,” said Salazar.
The R&D program also involves the development of techniques for the production of good quality captive Penaeus monodon broodstock and spawners to improve the survival of prawns due to better quality eggs and fries.
A study on the handling of protocols and value chain analysis for fresh chilled/frozen pebaeid shrimps reared in commercial and organic culture systems is also being made through the program.
Salazar said Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo had expressed confidence that the researches will not only help revive the prawn industry but also ensure food security in the country. (JCM/LAF-PIA 6)