Declining fish catch, conversion of mangroves into fish ponds and overexploitation of coastal resources were rampant among the coastal areas of Philippines. Hence, the national government initiated the implementation of Philippine National Aquasilviculture Program aimed to achieve food security, promote sustainable development of fisheries resources, and reduce poverty incidence among fisherfolk and other disadvantaged groups. To this, the Mindanao State University at Naawan served as the academic partner of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Region 10 in implementing three major projects namely, mangrove plantation, aquasilviculture and king crab hatchery in the community. Several people’s organizations in Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental and Lanao del Norte served as the project beneficiaries and implementors, particularly on mangrove plantation and aquasilviculture projects. After a year of mangrove planting, 621,852 living propagules survived (48.47%) from 1,282,770 propagules planted. In terms of aquasilviculture project, bangus cultured had a harvest of 3,513 from 4,500 juveniles reared, while only 50 individuals matured crabs were harvested out of 8,700 crablets raised simultaneously with the bangus in the same aquasilviculture pens. Hatchery of king crab attained ~1% zoeas that turned to megalopa stage. Only few reached to crablet stage due to severe cannibalism and microbial contamination. Major challenges of the project included the lack of support from local governments, internal issues of the organizations and natural disturbances like storm occurrences. All issues and concerns were brought to the partners people’s organizations and Regional Steering Committee for further deliberations and appropriate actions should similar projects be undertaken in the future.
- Increased survival of mangrove propagules might address problems on declining mangrove areas
- Hatchery potential of crab could replenish the depleting natural stocks in the coastal areas
- Simultaneous culture of milkfish and crabs could potentially increase livelihood opportunities for the fisherfolk
- Sustained coastal fisheries could improve the standard living condition of the fisherfolk while protecting the coastal environments