Backyard catfish hatcheries: Increasing income of village-level operators

To uplift the socio-economic condition of marginal fisherfolk in Ilocos region, satellite hatcheries (backyard) were established, showcasing, and disseminating technology and protocol for the breeding and propagation of African catfish.

Funded by the DA-Biotech Program Office (BPO) with the DA-National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI), about 50 kilogram of catfish breeders, or 25 female and 25 male breeders, weighing approximately 1.5kg at a 1:1 breeding ratio, were purchased and distributed for the startup of backyard hatchery.

Six cooperators/beneficiaries (one from La Union and five from different municipalities in Pangasinan) were selected based on site location, accessibility, preferred condition, visibility, soil quality, and water availability and quality. On the average, the cooperators are aged 55 years old, most of which are engaged in the grow-out culture of various species, such as tilapia and milkfish, backyard vegetable farming, among other things with a monthly income ranging from PhP 6,000 to PhP 15,000.

Cooperators were able to produce catfish fingerlings at a total of 936,900 in four production cycles from July 2021 to June 2022. Among the hatchery cooperators, Richard Delfin from Rosario, La Union had the highest production of catfish fingerlings for the first to fourth cycle, with a total gross sales of PhP 423,150 and a profit of PhP 301,183.89. Followed by Dionnaly Caasi from Bolinao, Pangasinan with total fry produce of 259,600, gross sales of PhP 519,200, and profit of PhP 402,561.05.

To ensure sustainability, the implementers advised that the following are crucial in the hatchery operation: use wooden hatching tank, hapa nets in nursery ponds to avoid igat, and net/sacks/nylon twine to avoid birds from entering the larval rearing tanks, and create an alternative source of water, among other things.

 “The project will address the need for seed stocks of catfish in the region. A continuous supply of quality fingerlings in the community for nursery and grow-out culture will help increase fish production and will help village-level operators through income-generating technology packages while contributing to food production and sufficiency, especially during the time of the pandemic,” Marites Chiuco said.

She added that linkages will be developed for the hatchery-nursery chain through consolidation of production. (### Lea B. Calmada)