HISTORY

The establishment of the CLSU College of Fisheries was part of the expanding program of Central Luzon State University (CLSU). CLSU was converted to a university in 1964 by virtue of Republic Act 4067 which gives “professional and technical training in agriculture and mechanic arts; provides advanced instruction; and promotes research, literature, philosophy, the sciences, technology and the arts”.

In the 1970s, the establishment of the College of Fisheries (CF) was primed up with the involvement of CLSU in the Inland Fisheries Project (Freshwater component) of the University of the Philippines under the auspices of the National Science Development Board (now Department of Science and Technology). Assistance for the project came from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Dr, John H. Grover, a faculty member of Auburn University, Alabama, U.S.A. .was assigned as a USAID Inland Fisheries Adviser to help in the development of the inland fisheries project at CLSU.

The first course in fisheries entitled “ Introduction to Inland Fisheries” was offered in the second semester of school year 1972 – 1973. This was through the instigation of President Amado C. Campos, the man behind the development of CLSU. The course handled by Dr. John H. Grover was an elective to third and fourth year students taking Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. By virtue of the Board of Regents Resolution No. 1196, s. 1972, Dr. Grover was conferred an academic rank of Assistant Professor in Inland Fisheries. The positive response of students enrolled in the course gave rise to a new major field in Inland Fisheries offered in the Bachelor of Science in Agriculture effective the first semester of SY 1974-1975. This new program was developed by Dr. Rafael D. Guerrero III. Among the first students who enrolled in this program were: Eduardo Lopez, Armando Fermin, Tereso Abella, Eden Gonzales, Eufemio Domingo, Clemente Tadeo, Lamberto Punzalan, Edilberto San Andres and Federico Corpuz . Another wave of students followed suit. In this group were: Arsenia Cagauan, Ramon Aquino, Margarita Quezon, Pepito Valera and Rosita Ramos.

The growing interest in fisheries education spawned the creation of the College of Inland Fisheries which was created through Board Resolution No. 1604, s. 1976. At the beginning of the school year 1976-1977, the newly created college offered a Bachelor of Science in Inland Fisheries (BSIF), major in Fisheries Management and Aquaculture. Dr. Rafael D. Guerrero who was very instrumental in the development of this fisheries curriculum became the first Dean of the College.

The first group of senior faculty members belonged to the famous "Auburn Mafia" in the Philippine Aquaculture as they have completed their advanced degrees in fisheries from Auburn University, USA. These faculty members were Dr. Catalino R. dela Cruz, Prof. Rodolfo G. Arce, Dr. Emmanuel Cruz, Prof. Luzviminda A. Guerrero. Among the junior faculty members hired were Mr. Tereso Abella, Ms. Carolina Banda, Mr. Nicostrato Perez, Ms. Eden Gonzales and Mr. Daniel Oreta.

The new BSIF curriculum attracted a bunch of bright students who in the later years made significant contributions in the field of fisheries. Some of the pioneering students were Remedios Bulacso, Rodora Magisa, Joy Balgos, Priscila Mendoza, Marivic Reyes, Marissa Dizon, Bernie Campos, Severina Soriano, Ruth Tamondong, Gil Justiniano, Darlito Pangilinan, Alex dela Peña, Hernando Bolivar, Roberta Santiago and Edwin Sotto. This group of students was looked upon by other students of the university as they excelled in both curricular and extra-curricular activities during their time.

The late 70’s marked significant the contribution of the college in aquaculture research through its strong and undying partnership with the Freshwater Aquaculture Center. The active research efforts of the senior faculty members distinguished them as leading scientists in freshwater aquaculture. Dr. Guerrero was awarded as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men in the Philippines for his pioneering work in sex-reversal of tilapia. This technology revolutionalized the tilapia industry in the country.

The beginning of the 80’s showed a change in the leadership with Dr. Guerrero leaving the university to broaden his horizon. Dr. Catalino R. dela Cruz assumed the Deanship and at the same time the Director of Freshwater Aquaculture Center. Mr. Ruben C. Sevilleja after finishing up his MS in Fisheries Economics at Auburn University was transferred from the College of Agriculture to the College of Fisheries. He was indeed a prized catch for the college.

In 1983, the initiative of Dr. Catalino dela Cruz and grant coming from the Japanese International Cooperative Agency (JICA) gave rise to the Freshwater Aquaculture Center Training Complex. The College of Fisheries in the campus was transferred to the new FAC complex to give the students better accessibility to the new facilities and laboratory equipment of FAC. In the early 1980s, another faculty member of the College of Fisheries garnered a prestigious award. Dr. Catalino dela Cruz was chosen as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines (TOYM) for his work on integrated agri-aqua farming systems.

The commencement exercises of academic year 1983-1984 saw a fisheries student topping the graduating class with the highest academic honor (Summa Cum Laude) conferred for the first time by the university. This honor belonged to Mr. Emmanuel M. Vera Cruz, a member of the elite Ferdinand Marcos Fisheries Scholars which also included Messrs. Jose Paclibare and Samson Meriño. Mr. Paclibare graduated Cum Laude on the same year while Mr. Meriño made a name for himself by becoming a student activist.

The middle part of the 80’s was marked by another change in the college leadership with Dr. Emmanuel M. Cruz taking over the stewardship and then to be followed by Dr. Rodolfo G. Arce.

Upon the assumption of Dr. Eliseo L. Ruiz as President of CLSU in 1987, he appointed Dr. Guillermo Rillon from the College of Agriculture as Dean of the College. In his short stint as Dean of the College, he proposed the idea of having a collection of freshwater fishes. This significant idea, however, was realized after nine years through the establishment of the Living Fish Museum. In the ensuing year, Prof. Renato D. Recometa was designated as the Dean of the College. Under his term, Prof. Recometa worked out to improve the present BSIF curriculum for wider scope by developing the BS Fisheries program with major field in Inland Fisheries and minor field in Marine Fisheries. In connection with this curricular change, the members of the University Board of Regents approved the renaming of the College of Inland Fisheries to College of Fisheries on July 24, 1991.

Prof. Recometa had many plans for the College but in 1992 he dropped his working tools and joined his Creator. The vacuum created by his departure was filled up by Prof. Ruben C. Sevilleja. Two years after steering the College, Prof. Sevilleja left for the United Kingdom to pursue his PhD at the University of Wales, Swansea. The Officer-In-Charge of the College was appointed in the person of Dr. Arsenia G. Cagauan.

In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, both faculty and students made their waves in their field of specializations. Prof. Arsenia G. Cagauan won the Best Paper Award in the Asian Fisheries Forum held in Singapore in 1992. Her research work was about the utilization of a nitrogen-fixing aquatic fern (azolla) in integrated rice-fish production system, funded by a research fellowship from the Asian Fisheries Society. She was also a recipient of the Most Outstanding Teacher for Region 3 in 1989. Ms. Mary Ann Garcia graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1989.

In July of 1994, Dr. Tereso A. Abella fresh from his PhD degree training at the University of Wales Swansea was appointed as the Dean of the College. He initiated additional scholarship programs for the students. For the first time, the College participated as a separate unit in the yearly university intramurals. Through his efforts and the rest of the faculty including the support of Pres. Fortunato A. Battad, the Living Fish Museum was established and inaugurated on March 3, 2000. Under his administration, the College was elevated to Level II in the Accrediting Agency of Chartered Colleges and Universities in the Philippines (AACCUP) accreditation but on top of this was the identification of the College as the Center of Excellence for Fisheries in Region III by the Commission on Higher Education. This was in accordance with the pertinent provisions of Republic Act of 1994 and by virtue of Resolution No. 42 - 2000.

Students and faculty members of the college continue to make waves. Ms. Jennifer Abalos, a fisheries student won the Best Undergraduate Thesis Award given by the Research Division of the University on April 11, 1996. She was the first recipient of this award. Moreover during the period, Prof. Emmanuel Vera Cruz won the First Fish For Every Filipino Award (Research Category) organized by the Marine Technology Foundation, Inc. and the SANTEH Feeds Corporation. On July 12, 1999, Prof. Apolinario V. Yambot was recognized for his efforts in the implementation of the Mobile Fish Diagnostic Project. Prof. Yambot was among the awardees selected by the National Aquaculture Resources Research and Development System (NARRDS) of the Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development (PCAMRD) at Los Baños, Laguna.

Twenty five years from now as the College celebrates its golden anniversary, another chapter will be written in its history but we are certain this will be replete with the great achievements of the men and women who will continue the culture of excellence in the College of Fisheries as it meets the challenges of the third millennium.