NIFTDC's breakthrough in artificial breeding of Red Pacu fish successful

Monday, July 02, 2012 07:36 AM    Views : 2869by:Leonardo V. Micua

Scientists of the National Fisheries Technology Development Center (NIFTDC) in Dagupan have scored another breakthrough when they succeeded in artificially breeding Red Pacu, a kind of herbivorous fish that has a potential of cleaning lakes and rivers from unwanted water hyacinth.

NIFTDC chief Dr. Westly Rosario said the breakthrough could benefit the whole nation because soon, they would be able to disperse Red Pacu (Collusom Bidens) that would serve both as food fish and cleaning agents to lick water lilies that have accumulated in fresh water bodies.

NIFTDC is a 24-hectare research facility of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) located in Barangay Bonuan Binoc, Dagupan City, a big boon to fish farmers.

Rosario said with hormones injected on the adult Red Pacu, these were able to lay millions of eggs about 24 hours after.

Since Thursday (June 26), the eggs have grown into day-old old fry, one is as big a hairline.

This was the first time that NIFTDC has announced that they are now artificially breeding Red Pacu in their laboratory months after introducing it as a food fish in last year's Fish Conservation Week.

However, researches on Red Pacu started five years ago from some pieces of the fish donated to the center.

"Rainy season is the breeding season for Red Pacu. The rain triggers the spawning and breeding of the fish," said Rosario.

He said artificial breeding is necessary because Red Pacu mates rather too late after three or four years.

That was why scientists took the opportunity in injecting hormones to the female Red Pacu in captivity and expected these to lay their eggs in just a short span.

By Thursday morning, a water tube -attached to an aerator- normally being placed upside down in dispensers, is now swarming with millions of fry.

Red Pacu, often dubbed as cousin of the carnivorous piranha, is an important fish specie that could be stocked in dams and lakes clogged with water lilies and often hinder the flow run off water and cause flood during rainy days.

Serving as an aquarium fish when it is young, Red Pacu changes color from red to black and becomes ugly when it ages.

In some pet shops in Manila, the young Red Pacu sells at P30 piece.

Rosario said if fish farmers want to lick their ponds with water lilies so that they can produce more fish, they can culture Red Pacu too in the same body of water as this could co-exist with other fish.

Not carnivorous unlike its distant cousin Piranha, Red Pacu is blessed with teeth like those of human which they eventually lose when they age.

Rosario said though Red Pacu also eats commercial feeds, its chief food are water lilies and unwanted green plants that thrive in fishponds, lakes and upstream rivers.

Thus, fish farmers need no investment if they culture Red Pacu as the fish feeds and grows chiefly on leaves, like ruminants which include animals like goats and sheep.

In fact, he said, this kind of fish can be caught with hook and lime, using leaves of plants, including ipil-ipil, as baits.

Called by scientists as a gentle mammal because of its size, Red Pacu is about one foot long and weighs one kilo when the fish reaches one year. It can grow up to half meter at five kilos when it matures. .

As food fish, Red Paco can be cooked into different dish like "sinigang", sweet and sour, sizzling fish, fish burger and "kilawen".


S & T Trivia

" Dr. Rafael D. Guerrero III demonstrated that tilapia's fry fed with sex hormones can turn female potential fry into male. "

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