Former Secretary-General of SEAFDEC Dr. Siri Ekmaharaj was tapped by AQD to serve as Resource Person during the 26th Dean Domiciano K. Villaluz Memorial Lecture on 12 July 2018, commemorating the celebration of the 45th Anniversary of AQD. This year’s lecture of Dr. Siri on “Aquaculture of Black Tiger Shrimp (Penaeus monodon): Perspectives and Future Direction” was very timely as many Southeast Asian countries led by Thailand and the Philippines are now considering to revive the aquaculture of Southeast Asia’s native shrimp species P. monodon, once a sunshine industry in the 1990s but production of the shrimp slumped in the 2000s due to the outbreaks of shrimp diseases caused by the white spot syndrome virus.
With the latest innovations in the aquaculture of P. monodon that includes the production of disease-free broodstocks, there is hope for the region to revive the black shrimp culture industry, the demand of which has recently been increasing in the global market. In 2017, AQD launched the “OPLAN Balik Sugpo” or “Return to Monodon Culture Program” with the aim of reviving the once sunshine aquaculture industry of Southeast Asia. To date, AQD has successfully bred disease-free P. monodon which is being cultured at AQD’s Dumangas Brackishwater Station. Once the technology is verified at AQD, this would be disseminated to the Southeast Asian region.
Launched in 1993, the Dean Domiciano K. Villaluz Memorial Lecture is a yearly activity organized as part of AQD’s Anniversary celebrations, as a gesture of gratitude to the First Chief of AQD, Dean Domiciano K. Villaluz. Before his stint as AQD Chief, Dean Villaluz was already recognized as one of the Philippines’ most renowned fisheries scientists spearheading the aquaculture of P. monodon in the country. At AQD and while serving as its Chief from July 1973 to June 1979, Dean Villaluz played a pivotal role in setting the research direction of the Department that initially focused on the breeding of P. monodon (a dollar earner) and milkfish (Chanos chanos) which is meant for domestic consumption.