A GROUP of American students are learning from Filipinos’ success in fisheries whom they acknowledge as “the masters of aquaculture.”
Leading the nine students is Dr. Michael Rice of the Department of Fisheries, Animal and Veterinary Sciences of University of Rhode Island, a former US Peace Corps volunteer in 1981 who worked at the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).
He said they are here to do an intensive study on Aquaculture in the Philippines at the BFAR for their Aquaculture Fishery Science 492 course. They will be here until January 18.
“We are here because the Philippines is one of the leading countries engaged in aquaculture, production and research,” Rice said. “Quite frankly, the Pinoys taught me everything that I know about aquaculture,” he added.
He said he wanted his students to have the same experiences that he had in the Philippines.
As a peace corps volunteer, he authored a paper with Westremundo Rosario, the father of Dr. Westly Rosario, the incumbent BFAR Dagupan chief, about oysters and oyster farming and exporting oysters.
Although bangus and other fish raised at the BFAR-National Integrated Fisheries Technology Development Center are not raised in Rhode Island, Rice said his basic philosophy, as professor is to relate aquaculture to international development.
“Many of the techniques are not directly applicable (in our country) but basically the way of solving problems as they arrive as a process, that’s what I want my students to learn,” he said. “Filipinos are better adapted to the changing world in many ways,” he added.
Rice said he is impressed by how the BFAR center has become one of the country’s leading aquaculture centers for research and hatchery of various fish species.
They already toured the island barangays here where different fishing indigenous structures are located, including oyster farming and will also visit the Hundred Islands National Park in Alaminos City to see how tourism, aquaculture and the environment are balanced.
They will also visit Sual where fish pens and a power plant are located and yet no fish kill has happened due to good aquaculture practices.
Meanwhile, Rosario said in a separate interview that he hopes to learn from the visiting students about seabass and oysters and how integrated multi-tropic aquaculture is promoted in their country.—Tita Roces