AGRI Party-list rep files bill on national mariculture program 

PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

A SOLON on Wednesday filed a bill seeking to create a national mariculture program in the country as part of ensuring the country’s food security. 

House Bill 5531 or the proposed National Mariculture Program Act, filed by AGRI Party-list Rep. Wilbert T. Lee, aims to establish a sustainable mariculture industry that would provide a stable supply of aquatic commodities. 

“Our country is one of the world’s top producers of fish and aquatic plants,” Mr. Lee said in a press release. “Given our distinct advantage in natural resources, we must exert greater effort to (ensure) that we can use these amid the dangers of the climate crisis and increasing food insecurity.” 

“Bangus, siganid, seaweeds, oysters, mussels, red snappers, and groupers can be grown in this method,” he said, referring to the use of marine farming structures. 

He said mariculture could provide food supply as well as a steady source of livelihood for fishing communities. 

If the bill is enacted, the government would be mandated to improve mariculture viability through technical skill development among fisherfolk, from the production process to value chain transportation. 

The government will also provide equipment for post-harvest and ensure easy access to financing.

There is a need for the government to find ways to expand its food production capabilities as it can be vulnerable to climate change, Mr. Lee said.

“If we do not find solutions to improve our food production, hunger will strike in the country,” he added. “Mariculture is a good solution to this problem, if implemented accurately, all people will benefit.” — Kyanna Angela Bulan