The program titled, “Improved Grow-out Technology for Sustainable Milkfish Industry Program” is composed of the following projects:
- Project 1: Improved culture management practices for milkfish in ponds and cagesImprovement of feed formulation for milkfish culture in ponds and cages
- Project 2: Improvement of feed formulation for milkfish culture in ponds and cages
- Project 3: Evaluation of culture practices towards the control of off-flavour in milfish
- Project 4: Enhancement of milkfish culture operations through mechanization
This program aimed to generate information based on scientific data that can be used to develop efficient and environment-friendly production systems in increasing productivity of milkfish aquaculture & promote competitiveness of milkfish in local and international markets through adequate information and technology support.
The program has formulated cage designs suitable for Philippine open water conditions; developed GIS-based site selection and management system; developed cost-effective and less polluting feeds and protocols; developed a locally-produced mechanical feeders which allowed fish farmers to go into high density culture with more efficient utilization of feeds and better feed conversion; and automated fry counter and diagnostic kit for quick identification of off-flavor compounds in milkfish.
High density milkfish culture has shown to increase yield by about 50% and annual return on investment (ROI) of 200%.
Outputs of the program were: Prototype milkfish fry counter with 95% accuracy and a counting rate of six pieces fry per second; Mechanized top and bottom feeders which is 50% cheaper (at P10,000-P12,000) than the commercially available imported feeder (at P25,000); Plant-based milkfish diet with cowpea as protein source that replaced the costly imported soybean and fish meal ingredients, attaining the feed conversion ratio of about 1.5 from the average of 2.0 to 2.5 FCRs in ponds and cages, respectively; and the Diagnostic kit for detection of off-flavor in milkfish.