PHILIPPINES :The Philippine aquaculture industry could be threatened by climate change that would make water temperature rise and the ocean become acidic, affecting Asia-Pacific region’s needs for food security and sustainability.
This forecast was expressed by Dr. Felix Ayson, the chief of the Aquaculture Department of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC), who stressed that despite “the gloomy picture that climate change will bring, there are still ways to overcome these challenges,” news agency PNA reported.
In an attempt to avoid sounding "alarmist", Dr. Ayson explained that organisms can adapt to new temperatures as time passes, adding that the industry cannot afford to stop fish production to address the country’s food needs.
In this regard, the researcher stressed the importance of conducting research on species such as the bangus (milkfish) or the malaga (Siganus corallinus), whose eggs would require controlled facilities to be able to hatch despite higher water temperature.
“We need to provide this data to our policymakers for them to plan. It is our role as a research organization to provide this scientific data to our policymakers,” Dr. Ayson pointed out.
A second group of SEAFDEC researchers, lead by Dr. Emilia T. Quinitco, warned that El Niño phenomenon could affect the mud crab, which may stop spawning during high temperature of over 32 degrees centigrade during the seven-month drought, Sun Star informed.
In addition, the scientists warned that pests and diseases become stronger under high temperature, which could hamper the resource production.
The scientific team also concentrated on seaweeds, since higher temperature could affect seedlings and their studies are focused on propagules, which are fast growing with techniques to grow seaweeds faster and the identification of new sites and farming areas for seaweeds growing.
In Asia, seaweeds contribute USD10 billion annually and USD 115 billion in dried seaweeds.
Considering the increasing population, SEAFDEC researchers emphasized that the solution to this issue is a boost of fish farming and the sustainable intensification of aquaculture.
In this regard, Dr. Ayson concluded that they are carrying out collaborative work with different agencies in the Philippines, especially universities’ training modules on new technology to be developed and disseminated in the whole Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
SEAFDEC was established in 1967 with the main objective of promoting fisheries development in South East Asia.