July 1, 2011


Philippines launches innovative aquaculture ecosystem


The Philippines' Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) presented this week a locally developed farm-to-market ecosystem for aquaculture at a forum in Macau, China.
Senator Edgardo J Angara, chair of COMSTE, said that the 8th Asia Pacific Telecommunication and ICT Development Forum was an excellent venue for the Philippines to share its advances in promoting good aquaculture practices, including new technologically enhanced fish kill solutions.
COMSTE works with the Ateneo Innovation Centre (AIC), Japan and Thailand in a project that aims to help fishers avoid losses arising from fish kills and simultaneously create a farm to market ecosystem that would allow them to take advantage of available technology.
The APT SHARE project funded by the Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT) aims to create a broadband farm-to-market ecosystem for fisherfolk. The project is being piloted at Lake Palakpakin in San Pablo, Laguna.
The project aims to create a sustainable lake-based aquaculture environment, which is important to the country's quest for stable fish food supply.
Angara said that the AIC demonstrated several new technologies that address critical problems for fisherfolk, such as the occurrence of fish kills several times a year.
Engineering and environmental science researchers designed a floating field device that can roam around the lake and measure water clarity, dissolved oxygen, temperature versus depth and even take underwater videos of fish movement. All the measured parameters are fed over a wireless sensor network to a data center in the community.
This way, local people are able to monitor the health of the lakes system. Fishing communities want to make aquaculture, agriculture and ecotourism viable livelihood options for the future.
The fishers reportedly found the underwater cameras were very useful in ensuring that their fish nets were properly containing their catch.
The project will also implement remote sensing techniques tied up with cloud computing and data from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV's) to create decision support systems and sustainability mapping.
Fish feeding technologies will also be explored, like the utilisation of market waste to produce fish feed. All data will eventually be accessible from cloud technology directly to smart phones, enabling fisherfolk to manage and maintain the aquaculture network.
Angara said that in the future, this ecosystem will be linked to communities in Thailand and Japan, so the lessons learned in Lake Palakpakin can be shared with our neighbouring countries.
"This ground-breaking technology is empowering our fisherfolk, allowing them to increase their productivity and protect their livelihood. At the same time, we are contributing immensely to the global knowledge on aquaculture management," he added.
Angara noted that the recent fish kill that hit Taal Lake and the PHP5 million (US$ 114,835) worth of fish lost in Legazpi City are good examples of severe fish kills that devastated the local fishing communities.

The Ateneo programme is part of a cooperative project sponsored by the Asia Pacific Telecommunity organisation of Japan. Partner organisations are Ateneo de Manila University, COMSTE, Department of Transportation and Communication- Telecommunications Office (DOTC-TELOF), National Electronics and Computer Technology (NECTEC) Thailand, Japan Radio Corporation and NTT Japan.

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