Dr. Joseph Christopher Rayos, project leader and chief of NFRDI-ARDD, during the kick-off activity in Lala, Lanao del Norte.

The Department of Agriculture-National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (DA-NFRDI), through its Aquaculture Research and Development Division (ARDD), is currently implementing a research project to verify Central Luzon State University’s (CLSU) aquashading technology to increase tilapia seed production and ensure income among tilapia hatchery and grow-out operators in the country.

Aquashading technology, developed by CLSU’s Freshwater Aquaculture Center, uses greenhouse nets installed over the pond to provide shade for the cultured tilapia. The effect of the shade reduces the water temperature by 3-4 degrees Celsius, contributing to the increase of the fish’s chance of reproducing more fish by 100 percent (%) in both pond-based and hapa-based systems. Early adopters of this technology gained an estimated 14% return on investment (ROI) and an estimated payback period of fewer than two years.

To further validate the effectiveness of aquashade, NFRDI funded the project, “Verification of CLSU’s Aquashading Technology in Different Agro-climatic Conditions,” to assess the technical performance of aquashade technology, with or without shading, in Type I and Type III agro-climatic conditions.

“Aquashade technology reduces water temperature to make it favorable for breeding and increasing the seed production of Tilapia in ponds. The reduction of water temperature during the hottest hours of the day can significantly increase the spawning rate and seed production. This technology will definitely benefit our fish farmers through increased production and attain fish sufficiency,” said Dr. Joseph Christopher Rayos, project leader and chief of NFRDI-ARDD.

According to the Modified Corona’s Classification of Climate, there are four climate types in the Philippines: Type I (dry from November to April, and wet during the rest of the year); Type II (no dry season with a very pronounced maximum rain period from December to February); Type III (no very pronounced maximum rain period, with a short dry season lasting only from one to three months); and Type IV (rainfall is more or less evenly distributed throughout the year).

Two proposed on-station verification studies are located at NFRDI’s Freshwater Fisheries Research and Development Center (FFRDC) in Butong, Taal, Batangas with Type I climate and at NFRDI’s Brackishwater Fisheries Research and Development Center (BFRDC) in Lala, Lanao del Norte with Type III climate. The other two proposed sites are in Samar and Pangasinan for possible outside funding.

Kick-off activity for the project preparation was conducted on March 8, 2023 at BFRDC in Lala, Lanao del Norte. The project also aims to increase the hatchery production of tilapia fingerlings and validate the cost efficiency of the technology. ### (Cyrenes Moncawe)