Industry stakeholders are seeking support from the government to implement a multi -billion genomics program to improve and cut the production cost of milkfish or bangus.
In a press conference on Monday, advocacy group Tugon Kabuhayan said the proposed P2-billion program would complement the on-going National Broodstock Development Program (NBDP) for milkfish.
Group convenor Asis Perez said the program would ensure sufficiency of supply of quality fry and fingerlings for production.
He noted that the improvement in performance and genetics of milkfish would translate to cheaper price of the fish for consumers.
Currently, a draft roadmap for bangus genomics by a group composed of representatives from the Region-3 office of the Bureau of Fishers and Aquatic Resources (BFAR-3), De La Salle University, University of the Philippine, National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI), Department of Science and Technology (DoST) and Feedmix Specialist II Inc. is being created.
The roadmap, which should be out this year, will be submitted to the government and other private sectors for finalization before its implementation.
Based on latest data from BFAR, the Philippines is importing some 1.5 billion fry from Indonesia.
BFAR data showed that hatchery-bred fry contribute more than 37.4 percent of the 2.9 billion fry requirements in the country, while wild fry accounts for more than 11.9 percent or 1.4 billion fry combined.