MARINE HATCHERY. Undated photo shows the new PHP31-million marine hatchery in Ligao City in Albay province. The facility located in Barangay Maonon will produce different species such as milkfish, saline tilapia and mangrove crabs. (Photo courtesy of Rep. Fernando Cabredo)

LEGAZPI CITY – The new PHP31-million multi-species hatchery in Ligao City is expected to help increase fish production and contribute to the aquaculture industry of Albay province and the rest of the Bicol region.

Albay 3rd District Representative Fernando Cabredo said in a phone interview that the facility located in Barangay Maonon shall help sustain the town's production of different marine species such as milkfish, saline tilapia, and mangrove crabs.

He noted that the establishment of the hatchery was made possible by Republic Act 10950, otherwise known as “An Act Establishing A Multi-Species Hatchery in the City of Ligao, Province of Albay and Appropriating Funds Therefor” that was authored by then-congressman, now Ligao City Mayor Fernando Gonzalez and signed into law by former President Rodrigo Duterte in 2017.

"The purpose of this law is to guarantee the sustainability of the supply of marine products in Ligao City and in the whole Bicol Region. It also aims to address food security and provide livelihood opportunities for locals and fisherfolk in the coastal areas," Cabredo said.

He further said that the multi-species hatchery in Ligao will help address the increasing market demand in the whole region and is aligned with the Marcos administration’s call for sustainable food production and development of the nation’s agriculture sector.

Cabredo said the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) will lead the operations and implement training for local government unit (LGU) personnel within two years after the construction of the multi-species marine hatchery and transfer the management to the LGU.

"Once fully operational, it is forecast to have a projected income of PHP5 million every year," he noted.

Ligao City Mayor Fernando Gonzalez, Cabredo and other local officials led the inauguration of the multi-species marine hatchery located in the village's Sitio Tambac last March 25.

A similar facility will be also established in Libon town, with the groundbreaking tentatively scheduled this April. (PNA)