This study was conducted to assess the development, current status, and potential of mariculture parks after 15 years of the Mariculture Park Program of the Philippines. The Mariculture Park Program is beset by a threefold concern of low uptake, low participation of fishers, and low diversity of species being farmed. There are several factors that explain these outcomes. These include the (1) high cost of investment and operation, particulary for the physical structures (cages and support structures); (2) high cost (and sometimes limited availability) of juveniles/fingerlings and feed; (3) high vulnerability of the cages to changes in climate such as strong typhoons; (4) diseases and fish kills; and (5) other issues of theft and poor siting of the mariculture park. It is therefore recommended that (1) hatcheries for the frys/fingerlings be set up to support operators, (2) operators be linked to different companies selling feed to encourage competition, (3) companies or universities be encouraged to formulate cost-effective feed, (4) research be supported to address technical challenges related to cage farming operations, and (5) the reported negative environmental impacts of mariculture operations should also be addressed through regulatory measures or the imposition of taxes for such impacts.
The First 15 Years of Mariculture Parks in the Philippines: Challenges and the Way Forward