The CPP’s tilapia hatchery in Barangay Nagwaling is probably the most modern and state-of-theart facility of its kind in the country today.

By Dr. Rafael D. Guerrero III

Along with the Philippines,  Thailand is one of the leading countries in Southeast Asia for Nile tilapia farming. Charoen Pokphand (CP) Foods, the third largest agribusiness firm in Thailand, established its subsidiary, the CP Foods Philippines Corporation (CPP), in the Philippines in 2010. Aside from its aquatic feed mill in Samal, Bataan, it also has a Nile tilapia hatchery in Pilar of the same province thatbecame operational in 2011.

The indoor facility of the CPP hatchery for artificial incubation of Nile tilapia young.

The CPP’s tilapia hatchery in Barangay Nagwaling is probably the most modern and state-of-theart facility of its kind in the country today. In its 8.2-hectare compound are buildings for indoor production and nursery of the fry; these are supplied with pumped groundwater and earthen ponds with irrigation water. We were given a tour by Jamnan Sudtrong, assistant vice president for fish business, with hatchery co-managers Jayson Enriquez and Voraprach Todee.

Breeding of the improved Chitralada strain of the Nile tilapia from Thailand is done in the 36 aerated concrete tanks (5 x 5 x 1 meter) that are fully housed in a one-storey building. Breeders weighing about 500 grams (g) each were stocked at the rate of 8 per square meter (sq. m.), with a sex ratio of 4 females to 1 male, in the tanks at the time of our visit. The hatchery has an inventory of 25,000 breeders.

Jayson Enriquez shows a Nile tilapia breeder (Chitralada strain) being bred in an indoor concrete tank.

According to Enriquez, who is a fisheries graduate of the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University in La Union, about a thousand fertilized eggs and yolk sac fry are manually removed per month from the mouths of brooding females in a breeding cycle of 3 weeks.

With a high survival rate of 90%, the collected developing embryos are then transferred to a nearby building with artificial incubation devices for initial rearing of the young for 5 to 7 days until they become swim-up fry, which are ready to feed.

The swim-up fry are moved to an adjacent building and stocked in each of the 36 aerated concrete tanks (10 x 1.2 x 1 meter) at the rate of 100,000/sq. m. With intensive feeding of powdered hormone feed for sex reversal from Thailand, the fry are reared for 2 weeks. Feeding is done at only one end of the tanks where the fry congregate by habit. A fry survival of about 80% is said to be attained at this stage.

Jayson Enriquez feeds the Nile tilapia
fry for sex reversal in an indoor nursery
tank as Jamnan Sudtrong (middle) and Voraprach Todee look on.

From the indoor nursery tanks, the post-fry (2 weeks after initial sex reversal treatment) are brought to the nursery ponds outside and stocked in hapas (net enclosures) for further rearing and sex reversal treatment for another 2 weeks. After the 4-week nursery period, the size 17 fingerlings weighing around 0.5 g each (98% of which are male) are ready for delivery to pond/cage grow-out farmers throughout the country at a price of 30 centavos apiece.

The hatchery has the capacity to produce 5 million sex-reversed Nile tilapia fingerlings per month year round.

The technology for the breeding and nursery of Nile tilapia indoors is an innovation introduced by the CPP to the country. Although not commonly practiced by most local hatchery operators because of the high capital requirement for buildings, the innovation has the undisputed advantage of providing almost complete control of water temperature and quality for efficient breeding and nursery of the fish.

With climate change, local tilapia hatchery operators using only outdoor tanks and ponds experience low survival and poor growth of their fish due to fluctuations in outdoor temperature.

For more information, interested readers may email Jamnan Sudtrong at jamnan2002@hotmail.com.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s February 2015 issue.