As demand for grouper (lapu-lapu) in China is increasing, there is a need to ensure a sustainable source of live fish that will not deplete the volume of supply in the wild thus the Centre for Sustainability and other government agencies are pushing for good aquaculture practice.
The price of grouper is high when sold alive. In order to catch live fish from the coral reef, fishermen regularly use illegal fishing methods and this has a big impact on the health and productivity of coral reefs according to CFS.
An increasing number of fishermen catch undersize grouper, which they use for grow-out purposes. This means that less and less groupers reach maturity to breed and multiply. This has resulted to strong decline in the number of wild grouper and other important fish species.
CFS is an educational organization which bring academic and industry expertise to the wider community by providing sustainability education and training programs for individuals, organizations and communities.
CFS has constructed a nonprofit grouper hatchery and nursery facility in Palawan. It is working hand in hand with a number of partners including the City Government of Puerto Princesa, the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development and BFAR. In their state of the art facility in Bgy. Sta. Lucia, Puerto Princesa, different species of grouper fingerlings are produced and dispersed at cost price to small-scale grouper farmers throughout Palawan.
As part of the endeavor to increase the sustainability of the grouper farming sector in the province, the agriculture office of Taytay town has teamed up with PCSD and CFS to organize a series of trainings to grouper farmers.
With an aim to improve the sustainability and profitability of grouper farming practices, a training was held recently in the town of Taytay with 30 farmers from different grouper farming cooperatives.
The two-day training was led by Municipal Aquaculturist Hedilisa D. Pacionela and Municipal Agriculturist Gaspar L. Pacionela. It was supported by the local government of Taytay through Vice-Mayor Christian V. Rodriguez.
The main speaker for the event was Palaweño Al Gonzales, a grouper hatchery and grow-out expert with experience in the Philippines and in numerous countries aboard who is now managing the Centre for Sustainability hatchery.
As the training course was received so well by local fish farmers, the organizers plan to organize more of such events in the future and the next training is already planned for fishermen from Balabac. Ultimately the organizers are hoping to create a truly sustainable aquaculture industry in Palawan that has the potential to lift thousands of coastal residents out of poverty.
Aside from CFS, LGU of Taytay and government agencies, the Interchurch Cooperative for Development Cooperation (ICCO) also supported the activity by providing financial support.