PHILIPPINES : A new report reveals that the major tilapia producing regions in the Philippines are now experiencing significant impacts from the progressing negative effects of climate change.
Released by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the document states that the recurrent decline in farm productivity, mass mortality and fish kill is the result of extreme weather conditions.
Farmers, weather scientists and agriculturists are preparing for what they see as the inevitable impact of a changing climate: prolonged dry season, increasing air and water temperatures, critical dry spell and drought, frequency of strong thunderstorms, and heavy rainfalls which induce flooding and overflows of aquaculture farms.
Based on the key findings of a Special Report on Emission Scenarios by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the report projects that seasonal rainfall will generally increase and that temperature warming will occur for all seasons. In addition, it forecasts that extreme events are likely to increase in the period 2011-2040.
Meanwhile, with inputs from PAGASA and FAO, BFAR has issued an aquaculture bulletin “Impact Management of Weather Systems on Tilapia Pond Aquaculture,” covering the dynamics between tilapia farming in relation to the impact of weather systems on day-to-day pond management and operations. It is based partly on a participatory workshop among farmers from major pond-based tilapia farming provinces, aquaculture scientists and weather and climate experts.
The bulletin complements tilapia technology guides and manuals, most of which assume conducive weather or climatic conditions that are not often the case.
“Information in the bulletin seeks helping guide food production before, during and after disasters so people don’t go hungry,” said PAGASA Climate Monitoring and Prediction Section OIC Analiza Solis.
Therefore, FAO is looking forward to further collaborating with government on building up Philippine agriculture and fisheries’ resilience to climate change.
The information in the bulletin promotes agricultural adaptation to climate change through climate smart farming and fisheries, and reducing disaster risk through the use of weather and climate information.
It offers the example of one weather system that immediately impacts on aquatic habitat: the northeast monsoon (Hanging Amihan). Cold winds blowing from the northeast direction cause cloud development and rainfall at the eastern section of the country; this normally occurs from November to February.
Amihan causes widespread cloudiness and heavy rainfall, low air temperature, flooding and cold wind while rain may reduce water temperature (less than 24 degrees Celsius) that is stressful to tilapia.
Statistics revealed that tilapia production from freshwater and brackishwater ponds accounted for 716.4 tons out of the country’s fisheries output of 261,210.41 tons in 2015. Most tilapia pond operators follow semi-intensive system in producing marketable size tilapia for the local market.