Reviving mussel production in Iloilo


THE low production of green mussel (Perna viridis) or commonly known as “tahong” can be attributed to the inadequate supply of spats or seeds.

In fact, low production has been a perennial problem in many parts of the country, like for instance in Ajuy Bay in Iloilo.

Due to the problem, a project which developed a mussel hatchery at the University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV) in Miagao, Iloilo donated a total of 200,000 mussel spats to fisherfolk living around Aljuy in Iloilo.

Fisherfolk from Barangay Silagon in Ajuy received the mussel spats in three batches – from January to April 2019.

It was learned that Barangay Silagon is part of Ajuy Bay, which was once a natural ground of green mussel in Northern Iloilo, according to barangay officials and local fishermen.

Through partnerships with local officials, spat donation is seen as an initial step to revive mussel production in the area.

The Mussel Hatchery Project is part of the National Mussel Science and Technology (S&T) Program of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD).

PCAARRD also provided the necessary funding for the said program.

The project aims to produce and supply quality mussel spats year-round for the local mussel growers.

It is being implemented by the UPV through the Institute of Aquaculture, College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.

Earlier, PCAARRD has already expressed its commitment to assist in increasing the competitiveness of the mussel industry.

It can be recalled that Dr. Dalisay DG. Fernandez, director of the Inland Aquatic Resources Research Division of PCAARRD made the statement during the First Philippine Mussel Congress which was held in Iloilo City last year.

Through PCAARRD’s Mussel S&T Program, “efforts towards the development of processing and production technologies are being done to enable farmers to produce quality and safe cultured and processed mussel products.”

Due to the inadequate supply of spats or seeds, the UPV launched the Mussel Hatchery Project, thru the funding of PCAARRD to address such concern in 2014.

The project achieved a survival rate from early spat to spat (1cm) of 94 percent at the nursery stage.

Moreover, hatchery-produced spats transported to different culture sites as far as Aparri attained a high survival rate of up to 100 percent.

Further development and refinement work on hatchery and nursery techniques towards the establishment of seed production technology of Perna viridis are underway throughout the country.

Likewise, the longline technology was also presented – a method for mussel production which is cost-effective in producing high quality mussel, provides higher return of investment (ROI), more production, and is more environmental-friendly.

It has a higher ROI of 74 percent and a shorter payback period of two years than the raft method with an ROI of 26 perent and a payback period of three years.

Specific growth rate of green mussel cultured in longline was significantly higher than those cultured in stakes, and it allowed for faster growth and attainment of marketable size.

(This was originally posted at Panaynews.net on July 10, 2019.)