The Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center Aquaculture Department (SEAFDEC/AQD) is seeking to promote “pompano” as an alternative to more popular fish varieties in the Philippines.
The SEAFDEC/AQD is an international research center based in Tigbauan, Iloilo.
“We have been actively researching the snubnose pompano since 2007, but in the past two years we have intensified our commercialization projects to show the industry that pompano farming is a good investment,” Dan Baliao, chief of the SEAFDEC/AQD said.
Pompano, a silvery fish with a pearly white meat when cooked, is known as “apahan” or “dawis lawin” in the Philippines. Its market price is between P300 and P500 per kilogram, depending on size, which is usually between 250 to 500 grams.
However, despite its proven culinary and aquaculture value worldwide, pompano is yet to take off in the Philippines. This is mainly because of the lack of pompano fingerlings to stock into cages and ponds, and sea lice infections.
Between January and August 2022, Baliao added that they harvested pompano 10 times from both marine cages and brackishwater ponds, netting a total of 14 tons of the high-value commodity through its multiple experimental runs.
The research center is also constructing a dedicated pompano hatchery at its Tigbauan headquarters to further boost its research and commercialization activities. The new facility has a rearing capacity of 80 tons and may also supply private farmers.
Baliao also shared that SEAFDEC/AQD has already published research and continues to do studies on multiple fronts, including the development of a low-cost diet, strategies to accelerate growth in the nursery stage, reducing sea lice infestations, and preventing transmission of nervous necrosis virus that affects pompano breeders and larvae.
Because pompano is relatively easy to raise and uses the same pond and cage setup, Baliao said the pompano is a good alternative to milkfish, which is currently the top-farmed fish in the Philippines.