Red tilapia culture in the highland: a promising technology for the Cordillerans

Considered high value fish with promising demand and growing consumers’ acceptance, the DA-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-Cordillera Administrative Region (BFAR-CAR) conducted its third harvest field day of red tilapia cultured in cages on 13 July 2022 in Tadian, Mountain Province and stocking of more than 6,211 red tilapia fingerlings  in fishponds for the fourth and last trial of the project on 14 July 2022 in Sagada, Mountain Province. 

Red tilapia is considered a high-value fish because of its demand in high-end restaurants due to its color and taste, emulating other expensive marine species. 

Aside from ensuring a sustainable production of fish protein source in the highlands, DA-BFAR in Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, and Bicol Region are also currently adopting the protocol on the grow out culture for optimum growth of red tilapia. The DA-BAR-funded technology makes use of a cross of Oreochromis niloticus and Oreochromis mossambicus strains in freshwater ponds and cages. 

DA-BFAR-CAR implements the project to provide ready, alternative, and healthier protein sources for the growing population of Cordillera. 

Two municipalities were identified as project sites, one in Tadian where red tilapia is cultured in cages through the Tadian Farmers, Fisherfolk and Irrigators Multipurpose Cooperative; and another site in Sagada where red tilapia are grown in freshwater concrete ponds. 

The Mountain Province Farmer's Fisherfolk and Loach Throng (MPFFLT), an organized, diverse group of farmers and fisherfolk in the highland served as partner beneficiaries.  They are also responsible for marketing and disposal of the members’ produce. 

The said cooperatives and fisherfolk groups attended the harvest field day and stocking of red tilapia fingerlings. Both events were attended by local government unit representatives, project cooperators, adopters, and interested fisherfolk, and women groups. 

DA-BAR Research Coordination Division assistant head Julia Lapitan acknowledged the cooperators, adopters, implementers, and partner LGUs for a successful implementation of the projects. She emphasized that the most important actors in this endeavor were the farmers and fisherfolk. (### Julia Lapitan, Nieva Jean Ignacio, and Maria Elena Garces)