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Use of dams in aquaculture proposed

DAMS and some lakes can be tapped for aquaculture, with the industry possibly attracting investors if the new growing areas are opened up, according to advocacy group Tugon Kabuhayan.

In a virtual briefing Monday, Tugon Kabuhayan convenor Asis G. Perez said aquaculture can be established in Lake Mainit and Lake Lanao in Mindanao, as well as Angat Dam, San Roque Dam, and Pantabangan Dam.

Mr. Perez, a former national director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, said a policy overhaul is needed to establish aquaculture in dams and more lakes.

“This is especially needed for government agencies with jurisdiction in those areas, because every area has a different situation. Regulations should be aligned in order for investment to be drawn to those areas,” Mr. Perez said.

“Done properly, aquaculture can contribute to the overall production of the fisheries sector,” he added.

Mr. Perez said a stumbling block for the proposal is the conversion of these locations into protected areas, which could make for investors.

“Regulations are not clear in terms of fees that need to be paid,” Mr. Perez said.

According to Norberto O. Chingcuanco, co-convenor of Tugon Kabuhayan, a fully operational aquaculture set-up requires an investment of 100 to 500 cages, with one cage worth half a million pesos (P500,000), along with other facilities.

Mr. Chingcuanco said the establishment of aquaculture in lakes and dams can provide employment for those living near them.

“You can create livelihood in remote areas and people can earn properly,” Mr. Chingcuanco said.

Mr. Chingcuanco said one of the companies with a pending application before the National Irrigation Administration is aquaculture company Feedmix Specialist, Inc., which is seeking to operate in Pantabangan Dam.

Mr. Perez said other companies are trying to secure permits to invest in aquaculture in dams and other areas. He did not elaborate. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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