FARM­ING THE SEA IN LANAO DEL NORTE

Agriculture - - Mariculture -

GOVERN­MENT PROJECTS that show­case prac­ti­cal op­por­tu­ni­ties, whether in farm­ing or fish­eries, will al­ways have pos­i­tive re­sults.

Just like the mar­i­cul­ture park pro­ject in Lanao del Norte, which was launched in 2010 in Pan­guil Bay. There, the Bureau of Fish­eries and Aquatic Re­sources (BFAR) demon­strated fish farm­ing in the ocean with cir­cu­lar and square cages for cul­tur­ing ban­gus and other species.

The first cy­cle show­cased the stock­ing of 20,000 ban­gus finger­lings in one cir­cu­lar cage with a di­am­e­ter of 8 me­ters. Ban­gus grows well in sea­wa­ter. In four months of cul­ture, and af­ter

Harun said they also ex­per­i­mented in stock­ing pom­pano, which is a high-value species. This species also grows very fast in saline wa­ter. The trou­ble is that the feed is very ex­pen­sive: R1,800 per 50 kilo bag. While the price is high, pom­pano is not as fast-sell­ing as ban­gus.

At present, they are stock­ing seabass or apa­hap. This is also a high-value fish that fetches about R200 per kilo. But the feed is not as ex­pen­sive as that of pom­pano.

FISH FARMER-ADOP­TORS – While the small fish­ers can­not af­ford the high-cost of cir­cu­lar fish cages that cost mil­lions of pe­sos, they have nev­er­the­less adopted the tech­nol­ogy by mak­ing their own fish­pens out of bam­boo and other lo­cal ma­te­ri­als. And they are cul­tur­ing ban­gus, which are not only fast-grow­ing, but are also bet­ter-tast­ing than the ban­gus cul­tured in fresh­wa­ter.

From a dis­tance, one can see hun­dreds of fish farm­ers’ fish­pens not far from the shores of Pan­guil Bay. Ac­cord­ing to Harun, there are hun­dreds of fish­pens not only in Tu­bod but also in the towns of Lala and Baroy.

They are cul­tur­ing ban­gus for good rea­sons. For one, finger­lings are read­ily avail­able. Ban­gus grows fast in Pan­guil Bay so that in a cul­ture pe­riod of four months, two pieces could weigh a kilo. And the price is also very good. At the Marand­ing mar­ket in Lala town, we saw ban­gus be­ing sold at R140 per kilo.

Ac­cord­ing to Harun, the har­vests are not only sold in Lanao del Norte. Much of the pro­duc­tion is sold as far as Pa­ga­dian City, which is 76 kilo­me­ters away from Tu­bod.

Stephen Harun

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