|Economics of the Philippine Milkfish Resource System (UNU, 1982, 66 pages)|
|II.The procurement sub-system: fry gathering and distribution and fingerling rearing|
Although secondary data on the annual catch of milkfish fry are not available, they are caught by the hundreds of millions from coastal waters and transferred to brackishwater ponds throughout the country. The Philippines has a total of approximately 176,000 ha of fishponds,13 the major pond areas being in the provinces of lloilo 117,373 ha), Quezon (16,390 ha), Zamboanga del Sur (16,279 ha), Bulacan (16,173 ha), Capiz (11,240 ha), Negros Occidental (10,621 ha), Pangasinan (9,544 ha), and Pampanga 19,209 ha). Annual productivities of more than 800 kg per hectare are achieved in Pangasinan, Pampanga, Bulacan, and lloilo provinces (fig. 3). Because none of these more productive provinces has major fry grounds, fry must be imported from other areas of the country. Figures 20 and 21 indicate the widely dispersed fry grounds and more centralized fishpond areas, and demonstrate the consequent need for domestic trade in fry.
The procurement sub-system of the milkfish resource system in the Philippines is national in scope with a key role played by nursery-pond operators in the Metro Manila area (primarily Rizal and Bulacan provinces). Not only do a relatively small number of nursery-pond operators ultimately purchase a majority of the fry caught annually in the country, but these same individuals are also a major source of capital for fryground concessionaires and fishpen and fishpond operators. As will be discussed later in this section, the central role of these nursery-pond operators has resulted in a fry procurement sub-system that is well integrated in terms of availability of up-to-date price information. During the frygathering season, demandand-supply conditions are generally well known throughout the country, as fry concessionaires, dealers and nursery pond operators keep informed of the latest market prices through daily telephone and telegraphic communications.
Before discussing the intricacies of the relationships among fry gatherers, concessionaires, dealers and nursery-pond operators, the following section will first describe briefly the methods of fry gathering, since it is upon this activity that the whole resource system depends.