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FIS – Worldnews – Tobacco dust protects farmed fish from predators

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Tobacco dust used as molluscicide in milkfish farming. (Photo: nta.da.gov.ph/SEAFDDEC/FIS)

Tobacco dust protects farmed fish from predators

PHILIPPINES
Thursday, January 19, 2012,
01:50 (GMT + 9)

Research by the National Tobacco Administration (NTA) demonstrates that tobacco dust acts as a molluscicide by battling head lice and decimating snails living in fishponds and fish cages, Chief Edgardo D Zaragoza said this week.

Tobacco dust acts quickly to protect milkfish and its eggs from snails and other predators roaming in ponds and fish pens. Its efficacy has been proven by studies run by a team from the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Centre (Seafdec) in Tigbauan, Iloilo under Dr Joebert D Toledo, he went on.

Tobacco dust has already been applied as a pesticide in vegetable farms in Ilocos Sur, and growers have seen higher yields and significant cuts in production costs.

Now, the NTA has introduced a scheme to promote the use of tobacco dust in Sto Tomas, La Union to show how it benefits organic aquaculture, Manila Bulletin reports.

At a demonstration farm in the town, Zaragoza led a “show and tell” activity on how tobacco dust can work to tackle the degradation of fishponds caused by highly toxic chemicals. He discussed Tobacco Dust Plus, a scientifically tested, standardized, pure tobacco dust formulation created as a molluscicide to curb the presence of snails and other predators in fishponds.

He added that tobacco dust also works as a fertilizer to foster the growth of the natural fish food “lablab” and as a soil conditioner.

“The product intends to replace the long-banned, highly toxic, cyanide-based, inorganic chemicals being used in the preparation or sterilization of fishponds before the stocking of fingerlings,” Zaragoza explained.

Other institutions joining Seafdec that assessed tobacco dust were the Iloilo School of Fisheries in Iloilo, the Philippine Council for Aquaculture and Marine Resources Research and Development and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

Field testing was conducted in fishponds in Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan, Pangasinan and Ilocos Sur and confirmed the findings of the scientific studies.

The studies showed that following recommended production technologies demonstrated in the farm led to a notable drop in the mortality rate of fingerlings — from 20 to only 5 per cent – and savings of about PHP 20,000 (USD 456.44) on production cost per ha per grow-out cycle.

By Natalia Real
editorial@fis.com
www.fis.com

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